Messages from Young Adults

The Chicken or the Egg …

So which came first? It’s the age old question illustrating the dilemma presented by circular cause and effect. Does it make a difference when it comes to our spirituality if we practice learned behaviors versus learning fundamental principles, and which should come first? The chicken or the egg phenomenon has been at the center of several debates I’ve engaged in over the past few months. There’s this balance many Adventist young adults strive to maintain between the extreme conservative legalist and the ultimate relative liberalist. Here are some questions for thought…

Sitting in a Sabbath School (SS) classroom the 9:30-10:45 can be a frustrating experience. Often, we come out with more questions than we had going in. Now this could be a good thing, only if it served as a stimulus for personal devotional study guiding us to the answers. However, as we do the hustle these questions often quickly fade away and are left to the product of group-thinking found in your average SS class…and this isn’t usually all that substantive.

The chicken and egg syndrome (CES) always comes up when discussing the Sabbath, and how we should approach it. I remember discussing the lesson one week in class and we broke out into a big debate over whether or not it was acceptable to skip the questionable potluck and go out to eat after church on Sabbath.

CES may also appear in regards to how we approach the Sanctuary and the idea of reverence. This was one of my latest hot topics. In addition to the craziness that seemed to be going on during the service on the pulpit, there were some annoying little kids who kept elbowing me during the sermon. I had to practice the mommy-death-stare a few times, but it didn’t seem to work. I guess you acquire that skill only after giving birth.

So what does eating out on the Sabbath and noisy kids in the Sanctuary have to do with the good old chicken and the egg? Well, they both represent a greater principle, but are often made visible by practiced behavior and actions. Let’s examine reverence for example. My friend and I were discussing how he had been raised to remove shoes when entering the Sanctuary as a means of showing reverence/respect to God.

CES asks, does the act of removing your shoes cause you to be reverent? Or does a reverent spirit, cause you to remove your shoes? In other words, do I really have to take off my shoes to show reverence towards my Creator, or is there a principle to be applied and portrayed in various ways under various circumstances? Keeping all that in mind, what’s your final answer?


  • Brother winston said:

    well well…! quite a “leader/question”.. !! “out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart.. the mouth speaketh”… so… a comment based upon bibical principle.. would be that the motive in the soul is the decideing factor… not the action. Action is only works.. works do not save when not motivated.. by the real path of salvation. When so motivate (the real path) then works not only “confirm” ones salvation is in place.. but they also lead the thoughts of others to “hunger and thurst” by provication when they observe your actions… but also provide a “picture is worth 1000 words”… factor in your example…. you think about that… JOY!!!

  • Brother winston said:

    …after further thought… If one has studied and been brought to the conviction of keeping SABBATH holy.. as commanded in the 4th commandment, and it’s origen confirmed in the 2nd chapter of Gen., and allowed HIS SPIRIT to deepen the understanding about the sabbath and its real meaning: “My sabbaths shall be a sign between ME and thee {MY people}…” (worthy of note: more than one sabbath in the plural – weekly, monthly, yearly sabath-(s!) ) …one is compelled to understand.. that keeping the sabbath holy… is not a “part of salvation”…. This act, in and of itself, is simply “supporting evidence” OF salvation learned. The decision then to obey because we do indeed “love” him. Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.


  • Lionel said:

    I saw a report on CNN a couple months ago that confirmed the chicken did come before the egg because of a protein the egg needs. It can only come from a fully developed chicken. Which, of course….that scientific discovery is biblical, seeing God created “living creatures” and “beats of the earth” producing after their own kind and not eggs producing after their own kinds….BUT, I guess my point is the reverant spirit causes you to remove your shoes (if you perceive that as being reverant). However, removing your shoes doesn’t mean you are reverant just as attending church on Sabbath doesn’t mean you have kept the 4th commandment. God reads the pages of our heart and we can’t fool Him by kicking off our Stacy Adams (all black, brightly polished) or by doing no work on the Sabbath, etc.


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