There is no other argument in this discussion which, frankly, defies more hermeneutical and logical conventions than this one, so before I get to Dr. Nott's larger work on prohibition, this particular chestnut needs some time in cracker to see what's inside.
The first thing we need to cover is this: it is important when we read any text, but particularly the Scriptures, to represent what the writer meant as he meant it. I say that because Dr. Nott's argument expresses something which I think the average reader will miss unless someone points it out to him.
For example, Pastor Lumpkins makes a point of giving us this as an example of "bad wine":
- "For their vine is the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah. Their (yayin) wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps" (Deut. 32.33)
- For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
Hermeneutically, if we are going to say there is "bad wine", we have to admit that there is a reason in the text for the bad wine – and it's not alcohol. It's Sodom and Gomorrah -- which is to say, sin and disobedience.
But that said, there is another curious problem for Pastor Lumpkins and his Presbyterian source: the use of the word "yayin" in Hebrew.
See: in Gen 9, Noah plows the ground and grows some grapes, and makes him some wine. "yayin" is the word it uses there, specifically in v. 9:21. And with the "yayin", our friend Noah gets drunk.
That doesn’t seem to terrible on the surface, but when we get to Ps 104 and find out that wine is a blessing, it turns out that the wine in question is "yayin". When Ps 104 is talking about "making the heart glad", it's talking about something other than fruity goodness.
Be in the Lord's house with the Lord's people on the Lord's day this week.