Ask Father Paul 0912

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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the darndest, most interesting questions from people in their churches and people they meet. Here are a few that I’ve gotten over the years and via email since this column started.

Father Paul: What do you think about the use of alcohol? What does the Bible say?

— Brad

I can find no place in the Bible that specifically forbids its use. The Bible does, however, warn about the abuse of alcohol, and abuse, not consumption, is where the problem lies. See Galations 5: 19-21. The abuse of alcohol has probably caused more death, injury and distruction than all of the wars in history combined. Some people simply cannot handle alcohol period and they are wise to abstain.

Still, having said that, it is clear that alcohol (its moderate use) is mentioned throughout the Bible. Jesus drank wine at the annual Passover meal all of his adult life...and it was real wine, not grape juice. Wine was then and still is today used at the Passover meal. If you doubt that, check with your local Rabbi. It is clear from this that real wine was served at Jesus’ “Last Supper” Passover meal with his disciples. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding celebration in Cana ... John 2: 1-11. In the story, the banquet master was amazed at the fine quality of the wine. Since Jesus was a guest at the wedding so it is hard to imagine that he did not consume some of this wine himself.

The Apostle Paul told the young minister Timothy in I Timothy 5: 23 to “stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” The key words here to me are “use,” meaning not use wine only as a beverage but for its medicinal value as well ... and “little,” meaning, again, moderation.

Dear Father Paul: I recently lost a long time and much loved pet cat to illness. I am heartbroken. I prayed for her while she was sick, and would like to think that I will see her in heaven. What does the Bible say about an afterlife for animals?

— No Name

I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost several dearly loved pets over the years. It is heartbreaking.

The Bible teaches that mankind is unique in God’s living creation as opposed to animals. Only of man does the Bible say, “let us make man in our own image, after our likeness ...” Genesis 1: 26. Animals are mentioned throughout the Bible, but always in terms of their subservience to man. Man is unique in that he, and he alone of all God’s creation, has been given an eternal spirit.

The fact that animals do not have an eternal spirit and thus do not go to heaven (or hell) in no way detracts from their role as companions and helpers to man. Pets can and do become like “members of the family.” and are important to the lives of millions. Also, because of God’s charge to man to rule over all of his creation, it is important that we protect and not abuse animals.

I know that you are heartbroken, but please try to remember the old proverb (not from the Bible) that says ...”God can heal a broken heart, if we give him all of the pieces.” God loves all of his creation, including pets. May I lovingly suggest that when you feel the time is right, you get a new cat.

Special Announcement: The church I pastor, Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, will offer the highly acclaimed “Love And Respect” marriage enrichment program beginning on Tuesday evening, Sept. 25 and for the following four Tuesday evenings. The program is endorsed by Dr. James Dobson of Focus On The Family and can help a good marriage become even better and save a troubled marriage. The program is free with a small cost for the workbook and and is open to the community. Email me at and I will mail you a flyer with details.

Got a question? Email me at or phone (678) 457-3050.

Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville. Looking for a church? Information is at

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