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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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Opinions

Internal party-democracy under pressure

21st June 2022

British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham once opined: “If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.”

The truism in these words cannot be underestimated, especially when contextualizing against the political developments in Botswana. We have become a nation that does not value democracy, yet nothing represent freedom more than democracy. In fact, we desire, and value winning power or clinging to power more than anything else, even if it harms the democratic credentials of our political institutions. This is happening across political parties — ruling and opposition.

As far as democracy is concerned, we are regressing. We are becoming worse-off than we were in the past. If not arrested, Botswana will lose its status as among few democratic nations in the Africa. Ironically, Botswana was the first country in Africa to embrace democracy, and has held elections every five years without fail since independence.

We were once viewed as the shining example of Africa. Those accolades are not worth it any more. Young democracies such as South Africa, with strong institutions, deserves to be exalted. Botswana has lost faith in democracy, and we will pay a price for it. It is a slippery slope to dictatorship, which will bring among other excess, assault on civil liberties and human rights violations.

Former President, Festus Mogae once stated that Botswana’s democracy will only become authentic, when a different party, other than the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) wins elections, and when the President of such party is not from Serowe.

Although many may not publicly care to admit, Mogae’s assertion is true. BDP has over the years projected itself as a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of democracy, but the moment its stay in power became threatened and uncertain, it started behaving in a manner that is at variance with democratic values.  This has been happening over the years now, and the situation is getting worse by the day.

Recently, the BDP party leadership has been preaching compromise and consensus candidates for 2024 general elections. Essentially, the leadership has lost faith in the Bulela Ditswe dispensation, which has been used to selected party candidates for council and parliament since 2003. The leadership is discouraging democracy because they believe primary elections threaten party unity. It is a strange assertion indeed.

Bulela Ditswe was an enrichment of internal party democracy in the sense that it replaced the previous method of selection of candidates known as Committee of 18, in which a branch committee made of 18 people endorsed the representatives. While it is true that political contest can divide, the ruling party should be investing in political education and strengthening in its primary elections processes. Democracy does not come cheap or easy, but it is valuable.

Any unity that we desire so much at the expense of democracy is not true unity. Like W. Somerset Maugham said, democracy would be lost in the process, and ultimately, even the unity that was desired would eventually be lost too. Any solution that sacrifice democracy would not bring any results in the long run, except misery.

We have seen that also in opposition ranks. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) recently indicated that its incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) should not be challenged for their seats. While BDP is sacrificing democracy to stay in power, UDC is sacrificing democracy to win power. It is a scary reality given the fact that both parties – ruling and opposition — have embraced this position and believe democracy is the hindrance to their political ambitions.

These current reality points to one thing; our political parties have lost faith in democracy. They desire power more than, the purpose of power itself. It is also a crisis of leadership across the political divide, where we have seen dissenting views being met with persecution. We have seen perverting of political process endorsed by those in echelons of power to manipulate political outcomes in their favour.

Democracy should not be optional, it should be mandatory. Any leader proposing curtailing of democracy should be viewed with suspicion, and his adventures should be rejected before it is too late. Members of political parties, as subscribers of democracy, should collectively rise to the occasion to save their democracy from self-interest that is becoming prevalent among Botswana political parties.

The so-called compromise candidates, only benefits the leadership because it creates comforts for them. But for members, and for the nation, it is causing damage by reversing the gains that have been made over the years. We should reject leaders who only preach democracy in word, but are hesitant to practice it.

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Opinions

The Big Deal About Piracy

21st June 2022
piracy

Piracy of all kinds continues to have a massive impact on the global creative industry and the economies of the countries where it thrives.

One of the biggest misconceptions around piracy is that an individual consumer’s piracy activities, especially in a market the size of Botswana’s, is only a drop in the pool of potential losses to the different sectors of the economy piracy affects.

When someone sitting in Gaborone, Botswana logs onto an illegal site to download King Richard online, they don’t imagine that their one download will do anything to the production house’s pocket or make a dent in the actors’ net worth. At best, the sensitivity towards this illegal pirating activity likely only exists when contemplating going about pirating a local musician’s music or a short film produced locally.

The ripple effects of piracy at whatever scale reach far beyond what the average consumer could ever imagine. Figures released by software security and media technology company, Irdeto, show that users in five major African territories made approximately 17,4 million total visits to the top 10 identified piracy sites on the internet.

The economic impact of this on the creative industry alone soars to between 40 and 97.1 billion dollars, according a 2022 Dataprot study. In addition, they estimate that “illegally streamed copyrighted content consumes 24% of global bandwidth”.

As Botswana’s creative industry remains relatively slight on the scale of comparison to industries such as Nollywood and Nilewood where the creative industry contributes a huge proportion to West and East Africa’s respective GDPs, that does not imply that piracy activities in Botswana do not have a similar impact on our economy and the ability of our creative industry to grow.

When individuals make decisions to illegally consume content via internet streaming sites they believe they are saving money for themselves in the name of enjoying content they desire to consume. Although this is a personal choice that remains the prerogative of the consumer, looking beyond the fact that streaming on illegal content sites is piracy, the ripple effect of this decision also has an endless trail of impact where funds which could be used to grow the local creative industry through increased consumption, and revenue which would otherwise be fed back into Botswana’s economy are being diverted.

“Why can’t our local creative industry grow?” “Why don’t we see more home-grown films and shows in Botswana?” are questions constantly posed by those who consume television content in Botswana. The answer to this lies largely in the fact that Botswana’s local content needs an audience in order for it to grow. It needs support from government and entities which are in a position to fund and help the industry scale greater heights.

Any organisational body willing to support and grow the local creative industry needs to exist and operate in an economy which can support its mandates. Content piracy is a cycle that can only be alleviated when consumers make wiser decisions around what they consume and how.

This goes beyond eradicating piracy activities in so far as television content is concerned. This extends to the importation and trade in counterfeit goods, resale of goods and services not intended for resale across the border, outside its jurisdiction, and more. All of these activities stunt the growth of an economy and make it nearly impossible for industries and sectors to propel themselves to places where they can positively impact society and reinvest into the country’s economy.

So what can be done to turn the tide here in Botswana in order to see our local production houses gain the momentum required to produce more, license more and expand their horizons? While those who enforce the law continue to work towards minimizing piracy activities, it’s imperative that as consumers we work to make their efforts easier by being mindful of how our individual actions play a role in preventing the success of our local creative networks and our economy’s growth.

Whether you are pirating a Hollywood Blockbuster, illegally streaming a popular Motswana artist’s music, or smuggling in an illegal decoder to view content restricted to South Africa only, your actions have an impact on how we as a nation will make our mark on the global landscape with local creative productions. Thembi Legwaila is Corporate Affairs Manager, MultiChoice Botswana

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Opinions

Our Strength is our Unity

18th March 2022
Craig-Cloud

Putin Chose War.  We Remain United with Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador Craig L. Cloud

This is a dangerous moment for Europe and for freedom-loving people around the world.  By launching his brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has also committed an assault on the principles that uphold global peace and democracy.  But the people of Ukraine are resilient.

They’ve had a democracy for decades, and their bravery is inspiring the world.  The United States, together with our Allies and partners across the globe, will continue to support the Ukrainian people as they defend their country.  By choosing to pay for a war instead of investing in the needs of Russians, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure for the Kremlin and ravage the future of the Russian people.

When the history of this era is written, it will show that Putin’s choice to launch an unprovoked, unjust, and premeditated attack left the West more unified and Russia exponentially weaker.

United in Our Response

This will not end well for Vladimir Putin.  Together, the United States and our Allies and partners are taking action to hold Russia accountable.  As a result of unprecedented global sanctions coordination, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, and Canada have removed selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system and imposed restrictive measures on the Russian Central Bank.

President Biden announced sweeping financial sanctions and stringent export controls that will damage Russia’s economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology.  After Putin began his invasion, the ruble hit its weakest point in history, and the Russian stock market plunged.

Along with the United Kingdom and European Union, the United States imposed sanctions on the architects of this war, including Putin himself.

By moving in close coordination with a powerful coalition of Allies and partners representing more than half of the global economy, we have magnified the impact of our actions to impose maximum costs on Putin and his regime.  In response to Putin’s war of choice, we will limit Russia’s ability to do business in U.S. dollars.

We will stunt Russia’s ability to finance and grow its military.  We will impair Russia’s ability to compete in the global economy.  And we are prepared to do more.

In addition to economic penalties, this week President Biden authorized an additional $1 billion over the $350 million of security assistance he recently approved, and a $650 million in 2021, to immediately help Ukraine defend itself, bringing America’s total security assistance to Ukraine over the past year to $2 billion.

We also stand ready to defend our NATO Allies.  President Biden has coordinated with Allied governments to position thousands of additional forces in Germany and Poland as part of our commitment to NATO’s collective defense.

He authorized the deployment of ground and air forces already stationed in Europe to NATO’s eastern and southeastern flanks:  Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.  Our Allies have also added their own forces and capabilities to ensure our collective defense.  There should be no doubt about the readiness of the greatest military Alliance in the history of the world:  NATO is more united than ever.

The United States has also coordinated with major oil-producing and consuming countries to underscore our common interest in securing global energy supplies.  We are working with energy companies to surge their capacity to supply energy to the market, particularly as prices increase.

Putin’s Unprovoked and Premeditated War

This was an attack that Vladimir Putin has planned for a long time.  He methodically moved more than 150,000 troops and military equipment to Ukraine’s border.  He moved blood supplies into position and built field hospitals, demonstrating his intentions all along.

He rejected every good-faith effort by the United States and our Allies and partners to address his fabricated security concerns and to avoid needless conflict and human suffering by engaging in diplomacy and dialogue.

Putin executed his playbook exactly as we had warned he would do.  We saw Russia’s proxies increase their shelling in the Donbas.  We saw the Russian government launch cyber-operations against Ukraine.  We saw staged political theater in Moscow and heard outlandish and baseless claims made about Ukraine in an attempt to justify Russia’s aggression.

Russia continues to justify its military aggression by falsely claiming the need to stop “genocide” in Ukraine – despite there being no evidence that genocide was occurring there.  We saw Russia use these tactics before when they invaded Ukraine in 2014 and Georgia in 2008.

And then, at almost the very same moment the United Nations Security Council was meeting to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty and forestall disaster, Putin launched his invasion in violation of international law.  Missiles began to rain down, striking historic cities across Ukraine.  Then came air raids, columns of tanks, and battalions of troops, all riding a renewed wave of disinformation and outright lies.

We have been transparent with the world.  We declassified our intelligence about Russia’s plans so there could be no confusion and no cover up.  Putin is the aggressor.  Putin chose this war.  And now his people will bear the consequences of his decision to invest in war rather than in them.

Transatlantic Unity and Resolve Stronger Than Ever

Putin’s goal of dividing the West has failed.  In the face of one of the most significant challenges to European security and democratic ideals since World War II, the United States and our Allies and partners have joined together in solidarity.  We have united, coordinating intensively to engage as one with Russia and Ukraine, provided assistance to Ukraine, developed a broad response, and reaffirmed our commitment to NATO.

Putin has failed to divide us.  Putin has failed to undermine our shared belief in the fundamental right of sovereign nations to choose their destiny and their allies.  And Putin will fail to erase the proud nation of Ukraine.

The next few days, weeks, and months will be incredibly difficult for the people of Ukraine.  Putin has unleashed great suffering on them.  But the Ukrainian people have known 30 years of independence, and they have repeatedly shown they will not tolerate anyone who tries to take their country backwards.

The world is watching this conflict closely, and if Russian forces commit atrocities, we will explore all international mechanisms that could be used to bring those responsible – whether members of the military or their civilian leadership – to account.

Putin’s aggression against Ukraine will cost Russia profoundly, both economically and strategically.  The Russian people deserve better from their government than the immense cost to their future that this invasion has precipitated.

Liberty, democracy, and human dignity are forces far more powerful than fear and oppression.  In the contest between democracy and autocracy, between sovereignty and subjugation, make no mistake:  Freedom will prevail.

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