Carnival | The Institute for Creation Research

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25).

The familiar word, carnival, has an interesting Latin etymology meaning “putting away the flesh,” or “farewell to the flesh.” It seems to have originated in connection with the custom of Lent (from the Old English, lang, or the “lengthening” days of spring), the forty-day period of renunciation of fleshly indulgence just prior to Easter.

However, the period before Lent, culminating in Mardi Gras (or “fat Tuesday”), is now known as “carnival” in many countries—a period of excessive fleshly indulgence, rather than renunciation.

This is a strange contradiction not only in language, but also in the lives of many who profess to be Christians. As our text says, they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with all its lusts. Crucifixion is death, not a temporary lull! That is, those who truly belong to Christ have put off the lusts of the flesh altogether, not just for six weeks each year. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6–8).

Such passages clearly indicate that sincere Christians, desiring to please God, should not get involved in carnal (that is “fleshly”) excesses such as characterize the period of carnival, especially its climax at Mardi Gras. “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wontonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:13,14). HMM

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