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THE TOLLING OF TOLSTOY AND THE MARCH TO MARX -
A FOOLISH TRIP,
and a voyage through the turbulent shallows
There has of course been a quest for the godhead of man in these vainglorious years, sometimes more and sometimes less obvious. It has included in certain areas the productions of the mature Hegel (1770-1831) and even of Tolstoy (1828-1910). Their objectives count; but their productions have been malleable to madnesses now seen as ideational Hiroshimas and conceptual Nagasakis for the whole human race, or that part of it which loved these renegade moments.
The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were times of arrogance of intellect and brio of spirit on the part of man in his cultural developments, scarcely hindered by Hegel, born in the year Captain Cook was discovering the East Coast of Australia, with Tolstoy coming to the planet a little before Hegel left, as if to ensure some kind of succession, while the thrusts of Marx (1818-1883), like some poisonous fish paste, came in between, providing for man one of the many major ruinous delusions, as if to ensure that for all the follies of pride, man would pay with prodigious asset loss. It was an hallucinogen, a disturbing 'treat' for man, and one requiring the most rigorous treatment, since its taste was fine to so many with so little who in great numbers became those with still less, liberty itself merely one of the costs.
The errors of Hegel*1 , which Marx *2 used, have been considered before, but on this occasion we see them in connection with just one of the emphases of Tolstoy, which, whatever his other thoughts, played some part in the concoction, not that they were his alone, but an expression of things much to the human taste of the day, and indeed, though the words were penned somewhere around 1868, of this one also.
Now it might justly be protested that Tolstoy had elements of Christian ideas in his conceptions, but this is not here our concern, but a specialised area of his work, dealing with one precise point, in which it must be confessed he was if not a proto-Marxist ON THAT TOPIC, then more aptly, a proto-determinist in terms of historicism, that is, the concept of certain forces specifiable in kind, and natural in disposition, CONTROLLING history. In short, it tries to make an -ism out of historical development, specify what is 'really' happening, whether by economic determinism, the sub-variety of Marx, by psychological determinism, that of the lust for power super-added to its unconscious pursuit, a fey groping for a grouping, or the beatific forces of freedom in man as an expression of a lilt in law, by which personality expressing itself, becomes above law and a controller or comptroller or at least an injection into its realm.
However, our chief concern here is not what so and so or his brother defines as historicism, but the actuality to which the word in deeper or more superficial ways may be thought to refer.
In fact, as noted in SMR Chs. 1, 3, 4 and 5 in particular, as in It Bubbles ... Ch. 9 and Little Things... Ch. 5, and elsewhere on the topic of freedom (q.v. indexes), there is an area justly called that of law, and it is determinative in its own affairs, though susceptible to divine input which, without voiding it necessarily, can change its application, as when a child interferes with the apparently inviolable 'law' by which his toy engine goes off the tracks on curve A at speed B, by simply holding out his hand with a stabilising touch. This does not really contravene a physical law, but adds a force and purpose beyond it, to interfere not with its core, but its outcome. You do much the same, in general, when you give money to one permanently deleted in discipline, drunkard.
This is merely the outcome of characteristic features in a given system and in a given aspect or facet of it, when SYSTEM is the correct term to describe the milieu, itself placed where it is. Then there is the semi-automatic, when one has the power, as in breathing, to interfere with a programmatic matter, not to the deletion of the program, but to its variation at WILL. Again there is the FREE, where a person decides, not for gain or of necessity, but for the imagination itself, to prevent this which would assuredly otherwise occur, or to ensure that, which might not do so. Beyond this, there is the autonomous in aspiration, where someone realising the effects of upbringing, education and culture, to name but a few aspects, deliberately seeks to make naked his spirit until these things being reviewed and assiduously ASSESSED by conscious contemplation and analysis, are given their place.
This is done, not by directive impact but by permission and selection, indeed with imaginative additives of his own, as deliberatively and directedly, over the panorama of options, the proliferation of priorities, the code chosen, or granted, he then decides what to do.
The aspiration for such autonomy is not feasible without the Maker of one's aspects of liberty, for the simple reason that back of each assessment is the assessor, and back of every analysis is the matrix of personality itself, which unless infinitely understood, by criteria and canons beyond itself, will tend to bind.
These then are increases of liberty, except of course that there can be such a morbid element in any such endeavours, perhaps to make oneself feel important or freer than others or significant beyond the norm, that the arrogance or pride or self-preoccupation may become in itself, a menace to liberty and a masterpiece for bondage.
Nevertheless, there is in man the power to contemplate and assess as to consistency, as to accuracy, to disentangle principles, and to scrutinise these with logic, to find to what his own mind and constitution, his own verifiably interpretive reason may lead. If there were not Ultimate Truth in existence, then man, being a limited, delimited and defined being, could not of course find it; moreover, what is not there, is in any case not to be found. When man acts on such premises, disallowing the absolute and the ultimate in a flurry of irrational inconsistency (cf. SMR Ch. 3), then his time is lost if this is his target.
Perhaps, however, more frequently, he does not consider that by irrational presuppositions, he has disenabled himself from truth, as with Marx or Freud, and merely proceeds to tell us what it is, having removed its existence first, the grandest of the illusionists! This merely in turn illustrates the wildness of endeavours to use the inherent reality of causation in one's logic, in order to ignore its necessary consequences. It ends in laughable, indeed quite ludicrous estrangement from the arena into which such provocateurs then enter (cf. Causes 1, Barbs ... 6 -7, Repent or Perish Ch. 7).
We have often discussed these areas on this page, but our present purpose is merely swiftly to remind the reader of them, before noting the interesting impact of Tolstoy, in Russia, despite his vast difference from Marx in many ways, moving towards the sort of swollen concept of natural and 'irresistible' forces which man loves to deal. And why does he love this ? Not least, it is because it aids him by pleasurable illusion, to remove from himself the aweful reality of judgment, while allowing to him the supernal feeling of judging it all himself, by his 'principles' or whatever other name he gives to his controlling and vested interest, which he imagines, for this world's events.
In postulating such forces, in the absence of absolute truth, man is in simple and rather silly self-contradiction. Even if, contrary to all these theorists, events in fact followed their delusive descriptions of their imagined determinants, whether worms (such a book once appeared), women, macho, personality, greed, power, passion, heartless turmoils divesting all of meaning, so that THIS is the meaning in just one more meaningless meander from reason, and even where any prognostications at all are made (as in the ruined field of Marxism at the empirical as in the rational level): the case would not alter.
First let us be clear, however. Life is far more in height and depth and breadth and meaning than any of these -ismic fantasies imagine. It HAS economic, sexual, greedy, rapacious and other thrusts from the disordered relic of rationality and grace, called man; and it has nobility and altruism and helpfulness and holiness and wonder and inspiration and availabilities past the mind of flotsam and jetsam man, so conceiving himself, or his place in some schema of this or that force, when by his undivine divorce, he is merely playing with pathology, and at last, imitating the Challenger space ship, in its spurious, furious fizzle of ruin as it departed.
It is normal in reductionistic fantasies such as those of Marx and Freud*3, for example, to try to put it all in one iron-masked face and to build up some thin facade, and crow about it, until the fashion passes, the realities return to sight and truth emerges at the level of the operation of the theories. Sometimes, it takes very long indeed, as in the fantasy or organic evolution (cf. The gods of natualism have no go!), for man is always tending to lust to make himself the master if not the maker, and to grab the gifts of God by pride and irrationality, in order to make a good piracy from God, and then each from the other. The Greeks had their little ways much earlier (cf. Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13); but the truth is not in such pickings and choosings and ignorings (cf. Swift Witness 6 ), but in the competence to exhibit all justly.
This requiring the Absolute Truth, just as causation demands God, is not a problem, for those who are willing to receive it or want to give it! Without it, only a tangle of mangled and ludicrous bits festers in the philosophies concerned. With it, all is explained (cf. Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation, Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host). That is the empirical as well as the metaphysical fact
It is testimony, not to the magnificence of man's reasoning ability, but to the fact that God provided it for fellowship with Himself, whose is reason, and that the parameters match, and this to the point that God most justly condemns those fiddly pre-occupations with humanity's own ideas without Him, which both in principle and in practice never work (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 10). Hence when man seeks God with all his heart, instead of baying with the hounds for his meat, he finds not some method of constructing a god, such as idolaters do, but the Bible (cf. SMR Ch. 1, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9).
As to that, in turn, it came because the Creator of our system of reason, from His own Logos, also created His own presentation for man, in the Bible, the propositional manual. Hence man is enabled to go (created with relevant powers, which though much abused, remain in principle), provided with what to find, and may find it. He would undoubtedly do so in vast numbers were it not for the simple fact that being in the image of God, that is, having a certain power of self-determination - in man's case, limited and derivative, man has misused it. As a result, he tends to fund fancy when it comes to God, rather than find fact, even so obviously available a fact as the Bible, the sole rationally standing millenial attestation of truth (cf. *7 below).
Indeed, and we by no means forget the Christian aspects of Tolstoy's interest, He even sent His logos to man as man, and He lived amongst us, until, as pre-planned and predicted in detail, He was murdered by that judicial but injudicious method of lust, that man uses so often on what he does not want and cannot answer (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25, SMR Ch. 9).
Now that we have considered the milieu, more generally, we can become more specific on the all but amazing propositions of Tolstoy, this since they show a movement towards historicism of a comparatively crass character, one fitting indeed in some ways, nicely between those of Hegel and that of Marx. To be sure, Tolstoy was born after Marx, but his War and Peace came about one year before Marx's first volume of Das Capital. There was thus very considerable room for both mutual impact (for both lived together in time), and the operation of a virulent base, for their works straddle the ground about them, which in turn, had much that was growing in arrogance and pride, able to provide for both, according to the degree of appetite.
Of course, the appetite in Marx was pathetically passionate, for it is intensely sad to see the pre-occupationists drive their bellowing cattle of reductionism on the road that will ruin many, whereas the error of Tolstoy was less radical. Nevertheless, it is fascinating to find to what extent, not the crasser elements of Marx, but the pre-occupations with human beings in the midst of system, all being disposed, could appear in each. Man loves to invent a nature which writes its own book, a heart which makes its own terms, a life run by its own drives, and to ignore the Creator in the very midst of his amusing musings which have improved but little since the early Greeks, merely changing the specific irrationalities, to match the changing terrain (cf. Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch. 13).
The Bible of course, in no part changes; nothing changes God (cf. SMR Ch. 1), and there is little change to be gained from Him, in these human delusions of political, racial, biological, natural, psychological or other grandeur, even if the grandeur is that of the dismal, made so by the kingly contrivances of the miserably misled mind of man. In this he is not at all to be commended. Indeed, no 'Bon Voyage' can possibly be given to this inherently self-destructive, and empirically devastating course that he now adopts, while breaching all ties to the dynamic of reality, to his own nature and to the One who made it, in everlasting shame projecting what he cannot fulfil, and fulfilling precisely what God has been saying for millenia (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Now, in the midst of these affairs, we turn to a voyage de mal, rank and misdirected, from Tolstoy.
In his War and Peace, he comes at length to an Epilogue, and in Part Two this lays bare the ruined keel of his ship of history.
His pre-occupation appears to be POWER. What is the power which MAKES things happen, or is there one ? this is his theme for many pages. Is it really personality, or is it institutions, or agreements, or fiats or constitutional fixtures, or befuddlements, intentional or other; or is it events themselves, in ceaseless surging, the idea of power a mere nomenclature without fixture on which to place, nominal only ? Is it a concurrence of events with personalities, and institutions and culture and willingness ? Willingness of whom ? He dabbles in various forms of social contract with obvious contempt, wondering in what way the WILL of the people is so suddenly or magnificently or even meaningfully transferred - taking the case of Napoleon as but one example, an imaginary transfer from themselves to some erratic tyrant, changeable master, seizing now this, or altering that as he progresses in the sea of events, only to sink.
He comes to the conclusion, in ways which are at times so mingled with what might appear rather more than the verbal velocity of a Thackeray, as one digs amongst the many phrases and ideas and nuances, a number of features. They include these.
freedom of the will of man to enable intrusion into the so grand 'laws' of
3) power as
emanating from this secular source or that is scarcely convincing.
is illusion in the moment, although a conscious component of experience.
5) laws and principles of all kinds are emanating in the so wonderful wit and wisdom of man, so that in all fields in science and scientific approach, there is both a limitation and a delimitation of events, which follow what they will and go where they will, and when enough is known, the determinism of destiny will be the more realised.
This is philosophy itself: founded on nothing, following wisps of vapours, like clouds in a scattered sky. He moves like a greyhound, now here, now there, following now this absurd principle, now that, and then mingling them with common sense, until the result is a fabric of imagination and mere trickery with words. It is not that the words are themselves abused, but the underlying grounds for the principles they enshrine, mere cultural grandeur: now in retrospect incredibly foolish, but to him at that time, seemingly sure.
It is as if he were saying, now as we all know 2 and 2 can never be 4, and 4 and 1 are obviously five, so if you have 2 and 2 and 1, you never know what in the world the answer may be, although on the analogy of what seems at times to be so, that 2 and 2 really are 4, it would all come to 5 with the one added. However, strong wisdom teaches us otherwise, so really, mathematics is not applicable. It all comes to what it will come to, and we will see what it comes to, in the case of a bank account of 2 plus 2 plus 1 dollars, when you try to spend it. That is the only way you will ever know.
Poor Tolstoy! We will by the grace of God examine his presumptive conclusions (which oddly are actually contained in his preliminary premisses), in a moment. Meanwhile, let us consider. Here was a man in Russia about the time of Marx, major works of each within approximately one year of each other in publication, with Marx himself dying within a couple of years of the death of Dostoevski. The last named increased the offering with his depiction of the wantonry of nihilism which he so movingly expressed in such works as The Possessed. In this, it was as if making an analysis of the speech of the drunk, while scorning the real motives behind the execrable blast of words which substituted for reason in such approaches, digging into the tissue of deceit with the scalpel of penetration.
Tolstoy's part in the cultural moulding forces of his times was to be part of it, with a difference, that the historicism of Marx was too ludicrous and the nihilism that Dostoevski could bring to mind in his characters, were not for him.
Rather there was a sort of philosophic dream in which, from relevance to history's movement, God is dismissed, liberty is lampooned and components of culture are allowed free reign, devoid of substantial criticism as if royalty. Thus he presents that slave-like subjugation to many things and the statistical colloquy of many disciplines, many ideas, many kinds of force and power, as if this superior knowledge would at length confer on the conceptions of man, the actualities of the case. He would know. It is the serpent speaking as to Eve, all over again (cf. Genesis 3). Man is to find what is absolute in truth by skimming on the surface, like mosquitoes on a pond, discerning the depths as they go, not even scratching the surface, themselves held up by the surface tension which obscures the view!
In other words, man by man, probing now here, now there, would find many scientifically ascertainable bases for unpredictable scurries and flurries of events, moving in the sheer mass of complexity, diversity and interaction, in ways fully determined.
In these, such fantasies - which he however takes like so much else, with all seriousness - as organic evolution are to have a place, albeit not too large a place. Thus he tells us that it is not HOW such and such arrived that is to the point in the power plays of history, with its progress - or other, or in the character of its ways. Rather is it that is now here. Nevertheless, with this slightly more sober addition, he appears but a child of his times, far more thoughtful than many, but moving from reality to the pride that forgets what Paul enunciated so long ago: 'Measuring themselves by themselves, they are not wise' (II Corinthians 11).
Talking system, he ignores it; talking freedom, he would excise it; using the flair for the impossible, contrary to any system but that of liberty by creation, he excludes it; making man, he lets nature do it, and principles work hard to create, although never seen actually doing it, and without any facility for doing more than remind the observer, of the fashion and form which exhibits itself in the things that act, each according to its kind.
Such is the exclusivism of man, when he turns from the living God, to the livid treatises of philosophy, red-faced with their confusion, agreeing on nothing, groundless like an abyss, unsupported as any bottomless pit.
If, after all, there were no rule from God, and His power and penetration into history is to be disdained, then man being part of history, a massive element in its movement (he could for instance go far towards removing the viability of the planet, which would be a significant part of its history!), is voided of validity in his thought. Without access to absolute truth, man is without it, and without it, Tolstoy is without the absolute truth enunciated by Tolstoy, his work null. Such approaches never work since insolence is not the pathway to knowledge, and human self-aggrandisement is pride not profit, and dispensing with your Designer merely designates you deficient.
What then ? In fact, whether this absentee be from its unavailability or its non-existence, it matters not for this point. If absolute truth be not there, then the case of its exclusion from discussion would apply universally, and hence to the absolute 'truth' of Tolstoy. And this to the current point ? It is to the effect that we are to be finding out in disciplined thought all that goes on, and we are free (somehow) to know the fact that the way it ACTUALLY happens in principle, is this and that, as he proclaims it (as in 1-5 above, for example). The nature of unknown and unknowable truth is known.
What is found is mere self-contradiction, the long-living desire to find it all out without the Maker, and to know the character and nature, the design and the realities of all things, what they are in principle and what they are not, without knowing God. How wonderful is this little system for such as Tolstoy in this mode of his thought! Though subjected to necessities, we are free to find it out; though excluded from God, we are able to find truth itself; though removed from an interpreter, and a cultural conditioning on legs, we are face to face with actuality, merely by working away.
This is not 2 plus 2 equals 5.7, but a lemon! It is a contradictory series of mutually clangorous propositions, contradictory of each other, expulsive of the gen, a construction without base.
Moreover, on HIS PREMISES, you COULD not know for this reason, that there is nothing but the structure and nature of man, itself unknown, which is the source of your thought and the basis of your beliefs, be they called 'rational' or not. Since this is deemed a consequential offering, a derivative of system, butt of much that is moving in ways innumerable, then its coincidence with overall vision of reality is not an option, but a necessarily absent phenomenon. It lives on what does not know, is constituted by what goes in systematics below it, and arriving at an externally correct oversight is merely a contradiction in terms. WHERE would it be ? HOW could it be found ? In what IS simply what it is, how do you escape from it to see it in objective self-reference by a part of it! ... yourself. Truth is gone in such a schema.
Since on such a basis, you could not in principle know this, the absolute truth from the relative, yourself included and the merely internal systematics the ultimate, then you cannot consistently proclaim it. Indeed, it is not even meaningful, because of its glaring mutual self-contradiction, to articulate it. We do so merely to present the idea of Tolstoy!
It is always the same with the anti-theistic reductionists, and as for the theistic ones, unless you KNOW the God to whom you refer, it is in this realm and sphere of thought, as irrelevant as if He were not there at all. Lack of access to funds, while you starve, resemble to identity, in result, the lack of funds altogether, unless you can borrow from the inaccessible; but when it is in principle inaccessible, as in such philosophies, then there is nothing to borrow on, since access is DENIED.
Tolstoy is in the very midst of the mood, but not the mode, that led to Marx. He does not want God to be around, does want man to become central, has an agenda for the greatness of man, and for his knowledge without what is necessary for it (Marx's heaven without class was the least classy of heavens you could even imagine, so that some wondered, it seems, that if it were not hell, what would hell be!). In the thought of Tolstoy, and all that it requires, there is presented man who, though ultimately insignificant, yet straddles the saddle, a conceptual cadaver, astride the horse of knowledge.
It is rather like Hume in one aspect, for we are happily having NOW in the person of Tolstoy, despite no access to absolute truth because of his profound delimitations, which professedly control his products such as those of his mind, what ? We are having the presuppositions which the concepts exclude, those of actual truth.
This too we have found before, that man is so made in the image of God, that even when in erratic philosophies he affirms what he denies, mixed in unutterable confusion from his antithesis to reality, even when truth is a divorcee in principle, and agnosticism at least is his venue, he yet acts as if he KNOWS that all this is so, with whatever additives, philosophic preservatives, he may wish to add to this more active ingredient. HOW could anyone be so foolish as to affirm what he excludes ? Only by a measure of delusion so integumental that it is not noticed, being burnt into the system, and dismissed as a suspect. Thus a filial instinct acts even in parental divorce! That is simply one more verification of the truth of the word of God, who indicates precisely such to be the disposition of sinful, truth defying man (Ephesians 4:17-19). Only the unbounded, un-delimited, eternal basis of all (without whom always, nothing could EVER be) KNOWS with the same unrestricted, unconfined, time-overviewing, space containing mode*4A.
It is for this reason that ONLY GOD can save a soul! restoring it to its original condition, as able to re-create as to create at the first. With this type of power, there are no limits. In this sort of life, the Christian may live without the ceiling 'on', the stars in their courses themselves, no limit or barrier to the work of God; and this is the practical reality (cf. John 15:7, Mark 11:23). It is not that you cannot be hurt, for love is willing to suffer for those it seeks to benefit; but in the work of the Lord, you cannot be blocked, and nothing is too hard.
Thus we find by contrast, to revert to Hume, that the PERSON who could coherently THINK about events and series, is not actually allowed to BE such, in theory; yet in practice he operates as such, here as Hume, though an illicit immigrant to his own system (cf. SMR pp. 287ff.). He can inspect or reject, analyse or despise, consider the definition of series and seek to be or not to be one, a construction of substance and a producer who can be still. Thus, since there is a certain stability and reality to what he is doing in so thinking as to make his theories, one which is at odds with what EVERYTHING is supposedly doing, Hume forgets who he is on his own theory mirror!
He forgets himself in the most logically solecistic fashion, indeed one verging on the solipsistic, and although to forget oneself is thought of as seemly in some society, being conjoined to serviceability, yet in logic it is inadmissible, since the status of the one who thinks is crucial to the status of his thought!
Tolstoy loves laws, but his work has a parallel flaw: he emits declamation about his system with a truth which he systematically excludes. Now if to forget yourself is bad in logic, and if to exclude yourself is worse when the task is for you to speak your 'truth', yet to contradict yourself is a sort of internal quarrel, an irrational dispute with yourself, that requires nothing from anybody else.
The concept of laws without cause is mere casuistry, since the conformity of events to the laws and principles which a dewy-eyed Tolstoy wants to have around on all sides, thundering away in concert to have their statistical read-outs, requires a power to make the principles and the laws, without which the mere assumption is contra-causal logic, which when involved in the thought processes of man, would eliminate them. Logic is BUILT on causation, from the definition of terms, and hence characterisability of that to which they refer, and the application of results to such, as they mingle with other terms, each indicative of the nature of the topic, so that results are found verbally from the definitions and descriptions given. Without this, thought ceases, language is ended and discussion cannot be. (Cf. SMR Chs. 1, 3, 5, Causes 1).
The luxury therefore of dispensing with CAUSATION for the situation one ponders, while assuming it in the pondering is available only for the nursery, with other tales of wonder. You either USE logic consistently, or voiding it, are exempt from its play. If the latter, you have resigned in any discussion in advance, where truth is the object or objective.
When however you insist on having, as Tolstoy does, principles and laws and forms and interactions all in the most disciplined of ways, which the human mind is to aspire to conquer and in conquest, understand, and in understanding, see for what they are, then you must face the consequences of your conceptions. This of course is very close to what modern science does, despite all its protestations, for the subject matter is unequivocal and the arrangements are inspectable only because secure, and with mind, only because of its assumed validity, which requires all that we have just seen: but the necessities of reason for its arrival is not different from other things, because of its scale.
In fact, you cannot have a universe which is subject to reasoned discussion, because subjectible to reason (without which you have a clear contradiction in terms, between the means of discussion and the subject of it, making the latter irrelevant, and hence inaccessible and hence unknown, and hence unprojectable), and then ignore reason as you pursue it, forward, backwards or in the middle alike.
Hence you are required to have the all sufficient beginning for the delimited, causal and conceivable present, and the minimum as we have seen repeatedly, and in particular in SMR, is that Being called God who is not delimited (thus not requiring a causal delimitation), but the Producer of production (such as this universe and you and I, reader), eternal and the source. With nothing, you assuredly never get us, since it has no future; with something inadequate, it is the same. Back of the delimitations you need the delimiting dynamic, and back of the forms, the formulator, or it is mere magic, and being immune from logic, irrelevant to any discussion of the truth, by resignation at the outset.
Hence proposition 1, as above, of Tolstoy (our numbering, not his, but it is near the first in his discussion) is simply false. God, you might say, could if He wished, not be available; and then truth would not be available, although some of its results would be. However, that is not the same as its being inactive, or inoperative. What He is for man is not the same in any case as what He does WITH man. Even if unavailable, He would still avail to fulfil every one of His purposes IN creating, and FOR the creation.
God is as creator relevant in the matrix of what He made, the form of it, the logic of it, the mode of relationship of it to other parts, each part in whatever stature relative to the others He desires. He is apt for intervention in it at will, and whatever He wishes to communicate. That is the logical fact.
Similarly, so far from liberty being mere subjective illusion before the world of actual events, it is the case that if this were so, so profound would the distortion of man's mind become, that mere imagination that this is not what is happening, would be the end of it. Man would in this way be conscious with the very consciousness with which he reasons, of what is grossly contrary (as Tolstoy actually stresses) to reality.
How then can he correct this ? by imagining that reality is different ? But what does imagination do when primary data are contrary to it ? And in what way is the 'actuality' of laws inferred and principles to grind man's liberty into oblivion, as per Tolstoy in his outcomes section, when his very thought about this incoming and outcome is one of he principles he faces, uses and applies within himself! Is he by invalidity to become valid ? Will he disenable the method of his own production, in order to advise others of his casuistry! He is very conscious of liberty, as well as of law, and of the difference; and failure to accommodate both in his 'system' merely militates against it, as omission makes it a mere exhibit of self-contradictory prejudice. .
Reductionism is always dangerous, since it omits elements of the case in order to have a nice, polished theory (like leaving out a significant part of a sum in mathematics and so coming up with a wonderful conclusion which no one else managed to find, since they were bogged down with adherence to grubby little things called facts, ALL of them). Making freedom fanciful with a mind which is allegedly part of a mere changing, charging plethora of events, where man is tossed if involved, and neither gifted with access to absolute truth nor any control that counts, is to assume the power that, in this hypothesis, is denied. You CANNOT consistently KNOW that liberty is a mirage for man, if your basis is that all you have is what you find, and you as delimited are the limit. On such a basis, discriminatory and undiscriminating, you can only give up, shrug and say with Tolstoy that you have here contraries, law and liberty. If you fail to combine them, is this failure a success ? or if you cannot comprehend their interaction, is this inability to be the ground of instruction of others!
In this passion, he even goes further. He adds this, that since law is necessary for any adherence and cohesion of anything, then it wins. This is a vain argument, since law is an ordered relationship between cause and effect which specifies that if the input be this, the output MUST be that. It is not the creator. It is a product within the creation, of the Creator. It is neither more nor less significant than my sentence structure in this Chapter. I can choose to make it of one kind, or not; or do so today, but not tomorrow, or revise it on the third day and make it something else again. If I CHOOSE a genre, so be it; it is not my master, but I am responsible for it. It is my minion. Now it is not of that kind of feeling, of course, but it is necessary to bring out the categories and this may help to that point.
Law requires cause, when it is a matter of delimitation, since there has to be what effects the delimitation causatively, and the cause is required to be to the point, as I of this chapter. To be sure, I am limited in this chapter, but not without my God. He is able to instil, to inspire, to require this or that of me, as I am very conscious of being the case. I am not alone. Fallible of course, I am yet great assisted by the dynamic reality of the Lord who created me, which is not surprising, since one tends to take an interest in what one creates, especially when it comes to this summit of human design, in the realm of the visible.
Indeed, when the summit becomes so base that it seeks to eliminate, in philosophy or in practice alike, the God who made it, then clearly something is required for its proper functioning, in this case relative to God. This is called the GOSPEL and it provides that man needs re-creation, simultaneous with pardon, and pardon conjoined to payment for the cover of the case, and this action by God, since the smashed up vehicles called man, need outside force to re-deploy them, to original specifications (Colossians 3:10, II Corinthians 5:17ff.). That is paid for by Jesus Christ, who as the eternal Word of God, who declares 'Before Abraham was, I am', is capable of the payment, pure enough, great enough in infinite nature to cover many, and just to the point of being called in Acts 3, "the Just One".
Hence the LAW is kept, not broken into meaninglessness, which should have pleased Tolstoy, the LIBERTY is acknowledged, which meets the testimony of evaluation of principles, powers and desires according to self-criticised possibilities, and the LORD is seen amid His creation. This is not surprising in one obvious respect, this, that He has made us - by adequate use of spiritual causation, able to communicate about Him. This adds the facility to commune with Him, which many despise, because they lack it.
CAUSE of this, is the broken LAW, illustrating the province of a very real liberty,
CURE for it, is the acceptance of Christ according to the Gospel as the One who
Of course, man not so restored does not know God as Saviour; and like a broken record, if it could listen to itself, is unimpressed very often with the possibility: but that is the nature of the case and this is the cause of it, and the law covering it. God is not available to rebels, to be their Father, and without reality, you are in a mist of confusion, like Tolstoy in this, his Epilogue, Part Two, to War and Peace, which we are busy discussing.
In Repent or Perish Ch. 7, there is a presentation of the numerous grounds of self-contradiction and inadequacy of any form of determinism, while in It Bubbles ... Ch. 9 and Little Things Ch. 5, with SMR Chs. 1 and 4, you find the ultimacy of what to the ocular capacity of man is the invisible, and the necessity of liberty.
As to liberty, you may wonder how it could be necessary to be free, as if to invent a world which is contrary to itself, a point which seemed much to weigh on Tolstoy's mind, but it is quite simple in this.
If it were NOT the case that you have in principle a liberty from impersonal forces, then you could not have validity in your thought, since it would be necessitated by what is impersonal and you are personal, thus omitting the major ingredient in what you are, in its requisitions on what you think, as by this theory, determined. A conglomerate of diverse activities is not the distilled principles of logic. Action indeed is not designation, and function is not formulation. On this basis, you are a logical orphan, an invalid formulator.
If invalid, indeed, you are inept and cannot join in discussion, so you are automatically OUT of this one.
Further, matter itself is merely a theory of the mind, and if the mind were invalid, so too would the theory be impossible logically, a mere piece of the artless imagination of a disjoined logical flotsam and jetsam. To be valid, the mind requires access to absolute truth, and matter cannot speak, nor is it possible without delimitation of form and mode, as cause. Moving to the necessary Creator (not REQUIRED to create, but required by reason in view of the evidence, to HAVE created - it is always necessary to join the phrase to its real context), you have the ground for liberty, and the occasion for the disposability of the will, by conscious choice between competing ideologies, constructions and motivations.
So far from these being, as Tolstoy seems to imagine, involved in a ceaseless and meaningless round of anterior dynamics, caused in turn as you go back in time, by this and that, so making you what you are, so making your thought what it is, so making your action what it is, you are indeed involved in such dynamics, but not limited to them.
Your limitations and delimitations are from the source of it all, and your spirit, mind and body, in their distinct and divergent characters, are merely by irrationality to be conceived of as in the midst of a product situation, as if the Creator were apart or away on holiday, or engaged in a conversation and unavailable, a matter used by Elijah for derisive comedy at the expense of limited gods, at the Mt Carmel affair. In fact, there are social, economic, spiritual, moral, mental, ideological, linguistic, ideational, motivational and many other elements in the sensitive and adjustable spheres to which man relates as a person; and these function in various ways, either material, or mental or spiritual realms, all of which relate to one another in various ways.
Thus, for example, someone deciding to take drugs is allowing the mental to have, voluntarily, a subjection to the physical, and this may or may not be for ideological reasons.
HOW they relate to one another is partly, thus, the decision of man, and partly the prior decision of God, in making AVAILABLE the various priorities and prioritisations for man.
There is nothing merely LEGAL about this, for law is but one component, whether material or mental (as in logic) or spiritual (as with persons); and what is legal is not merely determined by any one of the domains, but as the case of the creation admits. There is for example a LAW OF KINDNESS (Proverbs 31:26), to which Solomon refers. This is a constraint arising from love within one phase of the nature of the human spirit, when it relates to the God who re-creates in the image of the original typing of man. It is to be done by the wise, desired by the loving and honoured by God. It is not a mechanistic law, for the mechanical is but one of the observable domains of man. It is not a merely legislative law, for legislation by man is merely another. Nor is it a survival law, since survival with abuse of liberty is quite possible, God being the Creator of liberty, its fruits having their seasons, at His will and discretion.
In all reductionism, as with Tolstoy's, there is this amazing blindness: how on earth do people USE their discretion in evaluating things and savouring them, and then ignore its very existence. It is rather like Hume, USING the fact that he is not a series, in an effort to reconstitute everything as mere series! The presence of laws, be they moral or spiritual or mechanical, dispositional or merely consequential, in the realm of normal physical necessity or moral requisition, do not breach participation in a diversity of situations, just as they themselves have a diversity of kind and operation. They form part of the inbuilt situation for the operation of various member units of the total system, itself a presence for deployment and employment, not a god. As in our traffic laws, the divine laws concerning trafficking in human beings, for example, do not effect the same, though they do require.
We need to recall that there are types of law, types of creations, and types of relationship to law, including rebellion and rationalisation in order to escape their impact. It is the glory and wonder of things made, that programmatics and ecstatics, mathematical precision and rabid distortion by ill-will, these are complementary, and that persons have an abode which lessens their task, while continually exposing their vulnerabilities.
Having a structure which has its own stabilities is not the same as BEING one! Being a person is not at all the same as being constituted an imaginary materialistic or cultural concept for personal operation. We too contrive schools for teaching, and God has made many facets to the functionalities of the universe, many features, many foci, many methods of procedure.
Law and liberty, so far from being antithetical, as with Tolstoy's confused thought on this topic*4, are complementary. Where a structure, like a platform for Sunday School children on which to perform, is made to be fixed so that other structures, called people, can be free on it, there is no contradiction. Quite to the contrary, the fixity of the one is a BASIS for the liberty of the other. When similarly, there is a law that sin brings death, the TEMPORAL facet of this law, and the REALMS of its operation, and the progression of the consequences is not for the sake of some simplistic theory, to be imagined to be mechanical. We humans know this well, for example in politics or education, when the RESULT of breach can involve such tempering and varying aspects as: patience, evaluation in the total context, discretionary mercy, concepts of eventual welfare, need of imparting wisdom, the sensitivity to the same of the person in view, and much, much more.
To exclude what we do, to invalidate what we are, and then to try to evaluate all things is rather like watching the human body at work, and then deciding, a priori, to exclude the heart, and to say that after all, what works works, and it is all complex, and it is best just to let it all happen and then statistically to try to work out what on earth it is that happened.
Exclusion zones for causal elements is mere arbitrariness and systematically invalid. You have precisely this, in miniature, in the farce of organic evolution today, where the spiritual and causatively ultimate is excluded a priori, even though this alone, and in the Bible specificity, this exclusively, meets ALL the criteria for evaluation in terms of scientific method! It is a fallacy that is farcical, and a farce which is fallacious, and while it adorns the day with mirth, this is inadequate. It is fine at times to make the heart of man merry, yet mirth has its place. In evaluation of the condition of the race, as an alternative to reason, it is not worth much!
We need to be serious minded if seriously we are to mind the matter of our minds, and seek the significance of our spirits (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9). Nothing is immaterial to the point, and least of all the spiritual, on which matter depends for its very life, though it be inanimate, to use the term in its broadest sense!
Tolstoy devotedly talks of witches and the like, as things past and to become passé, as knowledge advances, in that normal secular quiescence which passes for reason. However the point is this: while many things in the primary cause level are now ignored, in favour of the secondary or tertiary levels, this is not justified simply because many things in the secondary or tertiary fields of causation, were by some at some times in the past, attributed to the primary. It is not a matter of a see-saw, if you want to see, but of established causative relationships rationally, not whimsically and according to taste and cultural norms at any given time.
Truth is not a subject of culture, for if it were, it would be impossible rationally to say it. It would exclude, the underlying proposition, the application that appears in that statement or any concerning ultimate actuality, from such sources.
Ultimate causation, including that of our serial causation system, in space and time, is required or else magic. By all means regress to witches and the like, and have magic, but this is merely, when all is done, a matter of regressing to unspecified supernatural causes without grounds, and falls logically before the need to progress to specified spiritual and supernatural causes, that the delimitated and formed, formulated and conceptually acute universe might be, with words in writing, as in the Bible, and in code, as in the DNA which makes the race proceed to have its structure and potentials.
The progress for IMAGINING that a spirit intervenes, without evidence, in a given event, to IMAGINING that God does not intervene, in a given event, is zero. It is open to Him to intervene without any breach of law, by mere insertion of power at a point as desired. Laws do not exclude intrusion from the Law-Maker, any more than owning a car excludes you from driving it well or badly, or having a mechanic on board. There are agencies of various kinds, of which man is one highly versatile one, and there mutual operation is not a matter of statistics, but power, placement, organisational significance by institution and in terms of the structure which admits the whole conceptual nexus and actual interplay.
Now a commanding personality like Churchill, may indeed alter the thoughts of many, but not without cause or reason, and not without call on certain principles, priorities or bases. Again, a weak one may capitulated to some other commander who seeks to conquer; but it is not a breach of law for this to happen, or not happen, merely an exhibition of a potential in the realm of personality which exists, may be corrupted, indulged, corroded, eroded, or even on occasion, indeed on many occasions, dynamised by God.
These are options; not necessities.
Law is merely a form of order in a dimension, and it is dependent on its placement, its priority in the structure as invented, and where volition is relevant, on the exercise of this volition, and ultimately, on the decisions of God, who may at His mere will (which is a most reasonable will, but one needing no tuition from man) inundate the planet, remove it in fire, or protect a party like Israel. God has often indicated PRECISELY what He would do with that land and that people*5, and it is no small wonder that it is stated that one sovereign asked a counsellor why he should believe in God, maybe in two words, and these were: THE JEWS.
All that is foretold, comes to pass; it has done it in sections, in segments, in victories, in defeats, in scorning, in comfort, in prediction of the Messiah, of His death date, of the dispersion, of the re-taking of half of Jerusalem, in the disproportion of the enemies of a restored Israel and the enemies they would defeat before they returned to the God whom, in human form, they had pierced. It is told in general, and in particular, in things near at hand, and in things far off, and it is predicted that such predictions would be made (Amos 3:7).
That, it is one form of law, and its breach is one form of life, and its results are one form of divine communication, and divine quality control. This is empirical. The writing comes first, as in a chemistry experiment; the results come later.
God is not at all limited, and may act as He chooses, perhaps by stirring up conditions in the minds of man and inventing ideas for them when they are foolish enough to contest with him, like Pharaoh in ancient Egypt, so that their loss of liberty being their own folly, the direction of their unmoored souls becomes indeed an interplay with the boomings of pride and the fractures of the fallen. In such cases, the Lord may even harden an already hardened heart, to make it at least teach others (as in Romans 9).
Indeed, this shows the precise reason why to a large extent, there is such a division in these matters of liberty. Some are caught up in the cogs of rebellion, where the nature of the case makes them especially vulnerable to many woes, like anything out of place. Some men, on the other hand, are FREE, because they are back in the PRIORITY relationship relative to mere creation under them, that they should have; and then they may enjoy their position as the children of God.
It is no aristocracy, since they may be crucified as an exhibit of the love of God, or brought like Joseph as a testimony of divine wisdom or tried like Job*6. God uses His people, and they in love to Him, delight so to be used (as in Acts 5:41).
Those who do not know God, omit this arena and all its contestants and contributors, from their lives, and so in describing life are intimating a different tier of things, to some extent at least, what they find.
Since this lacks
a) the known and operative presence
b) the events derivative from that
c) the interventions according to
divine promise in the Bible, that relate,
d) the awareness of being
personalities in process, not flotsam in flotation amidst cultural events:
It is also likely to be inaccurate, for in hiding from his Maker, man naturally tends to overvalue or undervalue this or that component, and to have ludicrous theories as bases for thought itself, so becoming operationally confused at this level, and reporting a mixture of fact and fiction, tied in bundles, like stooks of hay, with the string of unconscious deviationism.
Put differently, it is like a car with the steering able only to go right. The sense of liberty which is duly reported as missing, is to some extent, true; since it IS missing; but the sense of a liberty which is just and right and relevant, is often also present, since it is so in potential and in any case, God may at His own discretion (we are not the only ones with that feature in our functionalities!) intervene creating even in the flotsam soul, a sense of presence, so that confused and variable reports arise.
Philosophy is their child, the other parent being the inventions of the mind, in order to console the soul on its rebellion, which being carefully hidden in many (but not all cases) from the mind, becomes a complex morass or moraine. This, in turn, provides philosophy with much for useless discussion and never-ending disagreement as false a priori principles, partial assumptions, implicit desires and cultural norms mix like the ingredients of a bomb, to produce perhaps such things as this Part Two of Tolstoy's Epilogue to his War and Peace.
Alas, in this he is at war with peace and fact and logic alike, moving on false premisses to confused conclusions which do not admit of truth from the first.
The so wonderful advances of man, which Tolstoy's prediction predictably failed to cover correctly, have been the very opposite. Allan Bloom in his work, The Closing of the American Mind (cf. SMR pp. 354-355 et al.) talks of the former wonder, decades ago, with which the student entered the ... glorious world of academia, expecting in social SCIENCE, to find the ultimate in reference points, the inspiration for life, the zenith now that the nadirs were gone, of applied science, academic discipline and the wonder of human thought as it presented MAN and his ways, his will and what is for him.
On the contrary, says Bloom, students no longer have this expectation as routine, far from it.
Rather, limping between this delusive or divided faculty and that, with ULTIMATE QUESTIONS by a kind of cultural quirk, shelved, and reductionism rampant, so that various categories of experience are by a kind of automation of thought, deemed subjectible to others - as with religion and sex, as if one's origin is to be equated in the significance stakes, with one's power of pro-creation (cf. SMR Ch. 4), what do the students find ?
It is this: there is a déjà vu, a confused non-epic, an epochal fixing, a contrived series of muted or near meaningless assumptions, a cultural fix, a marriage of convenience between combatants with unresolved concepts and conceptions. This often appears to many as depressing rather than delightful, enervating more than uplifting, debased rather than eminent. It is a collapse into expediency, an implicit ditching of the desiderata for the sake of equivocation or cynicism, inept, inefficient, frustrated, a troglodytic descent into darkness (cf. SMR pp. 294-315A).
Has then the progress of time allowed the suddenly endued faculties of man, enlightened and filled with light, to realise their dark domain of non-access to the absolute truth, so that they know it ? Does man at least understand himself, who speaks ?
Has therefore the systematically self-contradictory actually happened ? No, it has not, and what Tolstoy envisioned was a mere dark vision of the absurd, which has come to pass with the same certainty as a fool keeping his fortune: a negative one.
Man is not the centre of the universe, but a voyeur; and God is not excluded by his thought, but a necessity for its validity. Freedom is not an illusion, a primary datum to be discarded on some perverse conception of law, as though we did not continually see law in its place, to provide fixtures and features for use (whether God be at work in creating the universe or we in creating our homes). Liberty is in its place, to provide imagination and creativity, so that things - within the relevant phases for the operation of law, making action predictable to that extent - might be used to exhibit the dreams, visions and errors, of man.
When man perversely even wills to deceive others or himself, or to make error for this or that purpose, you see not law, but its breach, moral law; and this does not hit like a piston on the piston ring, but variously as the domains relate. To be sure, if it is a physical law, then, except the Lord intervene with direct power not limited by the laws He made, or introduced instead into the domain of their working as new ingredients, like the touch of a pilot on his auto-pilot, momentarily to intervene according to the PROVISIONS that were made for precisely such intervention, there will be a physical result.
If it is moral law, there will be a moral result. Part of the moral law is to SHOW what is what; and part of the desire of God is to show mercy, so that in the case, pardon may intervene, or pride, and the outcomes are various, depending on the personal assessment of the violation, by the personal God as He considers the personal being who did this thing, on purpose, or by ignorance, with malign intent, or benevolent one, persistently or on mere occasion, and so on.
We do not remove this area and arena, with Tolstoy, by saying so. The empirical realities continue, theories or not, and God continues, man being thus with or without access to truth; and God continues to use His own discretion, with or without self-revelation in the spirit of man, and man continues, in what ?
to be made proud by such cases, and
to try to make of it a rule for man,
or he humbles himself and seeks that sole,
propositional presentation of God
It is the facts that do not change; man might, but they do not.
Life is not mechanics, or inert law, or impersonal; we are personal and our cause is personal and our relationships with that One, with one another and with the diverse causalities of our varied universe, have personal as well as physical results.
The subordination of the framework to the requirements of the persons is only to be expected, since the former merely is and acts, whereas the latter choose to act, relish reality but often seek to subdue it. Unfortunately much of the stream of ongoing mankind is often mistaking the realm designed for his rule with the realities of all realms before God, so misusing directive power to his own confusion. In the Bible, all these things are explained, exemplified, subjected to species of predictions, which fulfilled, again illustrate the principles, the divine laws, which being personal, where personal have their own mode of operation, but are nevertheless exact. Man is indeed as the Bible declares (Psalm 1:5), like the chaff which the wind blows, without God, a wound, a woe, and often a proud one. Destiny is not to be desired in such a condition, but many desire to be lords of their domains more than to live. That is why he who would keep his life in the very presence of God, loses it; and having lost it, many sing the song of the lost in various shades of spiritual decrepitude, thinking it a catchy song; though even in laughter, there is for them, an underlying sorrow.
Thus man is able to be in a situation not unlike that designated by Tolstoy, but not as a natural thing: rather is it as a debased thing, suffering the wrath of God for his disjunction from meaning, wilfully - philosophically and psychologically both; and the situation never settles at that, since God loves His creation and far from leaving it alone to its delusions and illusory thinking, as with Tolstoy, seeks it out. Thus He has provided a pardon which meeting LAW with precision, brings REMISSION with precision, Christ even dying, the JUST for the UNJUST (so covering the case), to bring us to God, so securing eternal redemption. To some, eternity may seem undesirable, when what they face IS undesirable; but when it is realised that it is God with whom and in whom and for whom it is spent, the case changes.
Beyond law is grace; and beyond grace is love, and in both, there is liberty, and in the knowledge of the personal being who made us, and there alone, is the reality of liberty (rather than the remnants of its abuse) to be found, since we are operationally designed for comradeship and called into being for mutual acknowledgement. Where the Father is undesired, the spiritual liberty is both used and lost.
This is so far from being a paradox, that it is most intensely and intensively poignant. To exclude God from your life, and hence His power and participation on the PROMISED and BEAUTIFUL BASIS, in your experience, requires a use (albeit a MISUSE) of liberty. You cannot have it without that. IF you use it, you lose it, just like smashing a sports car into a bridge, and perhaps going over, so that the results of the error are complex, and depend on how it happens and to what extent. In any case, however, it is a smash, losing the automotive liberty.
IF you are moved to find God, and by His love He tells you He would have this, without exception or exemption for ALL, ab initio, then by His grace, you find what you are SUPPOSED to HAVE, and being a sinner from birth, you gain what you did not HAVE in your own life, before this. In doing so, you gain functionality which is complete, no part of you being excess baggage or without care and concern. It may need correction, like any well-serviced car, but this increases liberty, obviously, since it makes you MORE OPERATIONAL.
You are free, but to be sure, not autonomous. You lose an ILLUSORY autonomy (you were always LIMITED in what you could do, for evil, but not prevented entirely, since you are a limited and constituted being, not Lord). Yet you gain an actual liberty, not of course to be autonomous as if God, but to be responsible, realistic and consciously activated as a person, to operate at that level. You can thus genuinely love or hate (the latter, things), select or reject, discover or abort, follow loved vision or be slow on the uptake, and operate entirely as a derivative person, but one neither an automaton nor a lord. You become a child of God with a Father, and you know all the limits of a son or daughter, and all the facets of their function.
You can never BE God, being non-eternal, derivative and in His light, impure; what you may be is a child of God, pardoned, purified, cleansed, fortified, illuminated, empowered and filled with His peace.
There is a liberty of joy. It does not however prevent a temporary tangent, as with David, to fall with Bath-Sheba, nor does it require it; but it does exclude a continuation in the same, just as an athlete may stumble at a hurdle, but if that is his milieu, it is certainly not his practice. Again, a child of God may need discipline if he or she happens to fall for statistical glory temporarily, as happened also with David (I Chronicles 21); and as in that case, in the Lord's discretion such a person may even be given options as to the discipline (as was the case with David when he yielded for a moment to temporal concepts of glory, too far - I Chron, 21:12).
In essential sanctity, then, but not without the liberty to wander, to be checked, cleansed, careened, enabled and ennobled, the child of God moves (I John 3:9), relating with a transforming dynamic as a person to the Personal God. You can use free-will indeed, but not autonomously free will. You can like Jonah rebel for a moment against your Father, and find discipline, or even pout; but then you are corrected (Hebrews 12), PERSONALLY, and as one who in any case, PREFERS light to darkness (John 3:16,19).
It is by the grace of the sovereign operations of God, you want this, however much you may find it oppressive at the time of its infliction.
Freedom is not absolute, nor is it without meaning. It is vital and personal and intrinsic to man. Law is absolute in its place, but this as with the girders of a house, is not everywhere, even though in its place, it makes its exactions. Some laws are material, and normally function in their place, but may be overcome by the use of a power which dynamises the situation by added force or direction, which then enters the system as such, or by suspension, or anything else that may appeal to the Almighty. Such is divine healing, as often noted, with many cases fraudulent, since Satan loves to imitate, but many authentic*8 as this author knows very well.
Miracles do not require suspension of physical law, but they do not exclude it. God made the thing, and He operates it at will, making it so sequential, that one may predict with credibility, but often not with certainty. Sometimes new domains are found, as with Einstein in some of his work, and these may have been operating all along, and we did not know. Sometimes a law may be overcome by changing by added force, what was to happen, as in the alignment of planets. This also may be done by providential foresight, made to occur at a crucial moment, or by immediate action, also foreseen. With the author, the story goes at his will; with the Author, the story called history goes at His will.
Scientifically, since there is NOTHING remotely comparable to the Bible in terms of testable, endlessly verified statements, predictive and retrodictive, which have stood in part or whole, for millenia, some for more than three, and since the scope and detail of these, at such time barrier distances, is so vast and comprehensive of so much, and since this has all been presented in terms of testing (Isaiah 41,43,48), in the roundest of terms, and since the time scope makes microscopic in miniaturisation, any claims of modern science, which is so often changing its position and its scope and its ideas, so that a decade can make all but ludicrous some of the preceding concepts, it is not an option to disregard these incomparably superior facts of the Biblical presentation( as in *7), in any kind of mental - far less scientific - discipline.
The fact that He declares in Ephesians 1:11 that He WORKS all things after the counsel of His own will, is a further propositional revelation in PRINCIPLE of what He evidences in PRACTICE.
While God KNOWS before the book of history was written into time, WHO are His own (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.), that is knowledge. With it goes action. Both in the Old and in the New Testaments, He makes it clear that He searches out who are His own, zealously desiring for man life, not death (Ezekiel 33:10-11, 34:7-24, , Luke 19:10, John 10:1-28, I Timothy 2, Colossians 1). The passages in Ezekiel, for example, should be realised to the full, and follow.
"Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, "If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?"
" Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord:
live,' says the Lord God,
'surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock -
"therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!
"Thus says the Lord God:
'Behold, I am
against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand;
I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.'
"For thus says the Lord God:
'Indeed I Myself
will search for My sheep and seek them out.
As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep,
so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.
'I will feed them
in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel.
There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the
mountains of Israel.
I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,' says the Lord God.
'I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.
"And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God:
'Behold, I shall
judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.
Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.'
"Therefore thus says the Lord God to them:
'Behold, I Myself will judge
between the fat and the lean sheep. Because you have pushed with side and
shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad,
therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will
judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he
shall feed the - My servant David.
He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.' "
The last of course, David being long dead, refers to the famous son of David (Psalm 118)
who statedly was to rule as in
Isaiah 11:1ff., and
having come to present salvation's
payment for man, to declare God's will and way to man as man,
and having presented man with TIME,
by explicit plan, for the Gospel to inundate the globe
comes to rule so that the earth will
be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God
These vast historical strategies, not of hate but of love, not of selfish strangulation as by the nations, but of unselfish liberality, fulfil the secret longings of man by the actual basis of his being (cf. Isaiah 11:10, Haggai 2:6-7). Within them, and beyond them is the love of God, and from that is the seeking for man.
It is His will to seek out what may be found without violation of the image of God, without using mere force, which would in any case be irrelevant, since force does not change preference, per se, but rather merely allows hypocrites to conform. It is for God; it is HE who chooses our destiny (John 15:4, Romans 9:16, John 1:12), and it is vain to pretend that it is man. It is His eminent desire to have us spend it with Him, but there is no provision for force or pretence. He well knows that though good be shown, evil is often the passion of fashion and the priority of life, even to the uttermost (cf. Isaiah 57:15, 26:10). Past all merely human fluctuation and variation, consideration and penetration, it is He who knows and acts.
Indeed, it is HE who also declares that it is because of man's preference in the face of His attitude of seeking (Colossians 1:19ff.), that man is as applicable, condemned finally. It is apparent that in entire sovereignty, He selects whom He will; and in entire integrity, those selections relate not to impervious and blind sovereignty, or even undisclosed sovereignty, as if principles were excluded from the sight of man, but to the sovereign application of His own desire, and attitude, in the field of human will, so as to find what is unforced, and yet comes, and in such a way that it is no merit that it came, but a simple fact.
In other words, God desires all, does not force any, understands what is the ultimate and acts as He knows to be the case, and so has those who are His own, outside the bent structure of their fallen wills that failing, continue to fail, but NOT outside His own KNOWLEDGE, indeed foreknowledge of who are His. Past the buffetings of sin, He knows.
HE determines it ALONE; He does it also in such a way that man alone is culpable (John 3:16-19, I Timothy 2:1-4).
You can say that it is His interpretation of what we would have willed if we were not obscured in vision by our sins, what we would have willed if we could have willed; and this covers the case, in terms of reason and consistency as nothing else in religion does in this field. You can add that seen in a non-sinful vision, as God is able to see him, man is then without relative superiority, one to another, since that would involve degrees of insight, which means more or less than this or that, and hence damage and sin. Seeing us beyond sin, God is well able to know who are His, where sin neither dims nor differentiates.
Such a hypothetical state before the sight of God, as HE chooses, could indeed be the case in choice, and He DOES FOREKNOW WHOM HE PREDESTINATED (Romans 8:29ff.) , and WOULD have all. Indeed, he explicitly deems it man's preference in the very face of the divine generic, while He is seeking that all be reconciled to Himself (Colossians 1:19), which is the effective cause of his condemnation. When God speaks, it is well not to contradict or append.
HOWEVER He chooses, all is harmonious, and the constructive presentation above proves an entire consistency and resolution of any problem, whatever may be the actual method of fulfilling in His own way, the principles to which He is explicitly and repeatedly committed. In this, liberty though fallen, has its counterpart, and freedom though bruised, has its recovery as one is found.
No more is the cracked cylinder-head a seeming indictment of the engineer; for its breach is the cause, not its construction. Indeed, liberty is essentialised and realised before God, who imputes to man the ground of his own exclusion. Thus man is finally responsible for severance, not only from holiness in the first place (Romans 5:1-12), but for quenching of the Spirit, repudiation of the intensely earnest offer of the Lord, of salvation; and as to that, the provision is for one as for all. It is sufficient for all, and while applied only to some, it is neither divine thrift nor prejudice that limits; but the heart of man as understood by God. That is what it says.
Man is indeed INDIVIDUALLY responsible, and his misused freedom is the divinely cited reason for the exclusion of what, being lost, continues so. God is responsible for man; man for his liberty, and love for its free result in the God who provides resolution, salvation, redemption.
This said, it is enough that His attitude is for ALL, His love is for ALL, His power is self-restricted by the nature of love (GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD ... John 3:16, and THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION - John 3:19), man's divinely discerned preference in the face of this. Thus, Christ could and did weep for man's folly, while yet implementing the judgment (Luke 19:42ff.), knowing any man's preference, even where the man himself is too obscured by sin to discover it for himself; and the OPERATION of implementing salvation itself is sovereignly seen to, allowing nothing to chance, moments of temper or anything else, as ultimate and eternal things are measured by ultimate and eternal means, with ultimate and eternal results*9.
Thus freedom is God's, is applicable but aborted ultimately in man, is relevant in its reality to God, who desiring all, calls effectually whom He will, so that despite His desire, He does not violate or force, and despite man's sin, He does not allow misinterpretation or finitude to delete the actualities. In no other way is man finally excluded from ultimately being a puppet to sin, or delimited by differential inferiorities and superiorities of construction or case, as if a mere resultant, a toy of destiny or a trifle within mysteries inscrutable. When GOD says His attitude, it is quite vain to play the psychoanalyst, and to seek some other idea. This is it and it explains all, as effective in resolution, as beautiful in concept; and its beauty is not least in this, that the love of God is profound, unselfish, charitable but intense, and has stopped at nothing in providing everything that love may!
The love is embracive, the salvation is discerning, not of merit, but of preference as declared by deity Himself (Ephesians 2:1-10, John 3:19). In this way alone is freedom actual and implemented, not dependent on education, culture or condition, or indeed the pathological condition of human will, but freedom indeed, sovereignly dealt with, divinely discerned, so that man is assuredly responsible, while God's judgments are on man in the ultimate, only when His own judgment on Himself in Christ (II Cor. 5:17-21), is ruthlessly or listlessly bypassed by man, as seen in the knowledge, and indeed foreknowledge of God.
In this way, amidst the rest of the revelation of God, do we find in fact that the freedom of man has many facets, all consistent, and consistent with law.
Thus man is by creation a free being, as to will, but not as to power to do ANYTHING. Man is by sin a foiled and spoiled being, retained will, but one harassed by unholiness, severed from the will of the Father for whom his will is designed, in operation, and hence subjected to many slaveries and disjunction and diversions of liberty, making empirically for the confusions of philosophy, both as cover up of reality, and empirically finding different facts in different people, for they DO then differ, as those with broken legs from those without them. ALL are of the one design; but only some can walk, because healed.
A discussion of the GENERAL athleticism of the race without recognising the difference, is merely one of the exercises in folly of blind philosophy, working as in Tolstoy, with impossible propositions, as preliminaries, and finding unfulfilled dreams as a result.
Tolstoy, he avoided the immature and inane pre-occupations with one little reductionist fantasy which is the property of Marx; but he did subject himself to the passé and tired concept of illusion and arbitrary and in fact distorting deletions and invalid constructions, making his program irrational, his concepts fanciful, while himself virtually becoming the king of data, to include or exclude. In this way, as with Communism, he created a non sequitur, and a non est; for the results of fantasy are not reality!
There was no bon voyage for Tolstoy's lost vessel, as for Marx's. Man however continues to seek from himself for himself, with the same illicit passion, breaking the laws of God and reason, making fantasy and finding frustration in its execution. If you want to build, as Jesus put it, you need what it takes to get it done. It is no use building in the mere insufferable intransigeance of will, not free because merely viral with virility astray; you need to have a foundation that lasts and bricks that relate and are contoured to the case. If you move on a voyage, you need a keel, and directions, and eyes with which to see ALL that is there; or you ask for a sinking. For this, there is no sinking fund; if you sink, on the waters of life, in sheer desperate desire, declining your God, pretending your liberty is not answerable, wounded as it may be, then you are indeed sunk.
Bon voyage, my friends, on the ship of Jesus Christ, the carpenter who knew how to build, and who is the ark of deliverance as the flotation for a company that cannot sink, since its guide and Governor is God (Matthew 7:15ff., John 5:24, Romans 10:9, Hebrews 6:19).
See SMR pp. 127ff., 230ff., 307ff.
See for example:
Aviary of Idolatry,
97 (the exploiters, the fanciful,
the Communists, the de-godders and the realities), 98,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8;
The Grating Grandeur ... Ch. 2; SMR pp. 925ff.;
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch.
5 (the shape of things)
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 6 (and Hong Kong, and the movement of nations in the last century a concern),
with News 98, News 37.
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 9, incl. End-note 1 (esp. programmatic psychology and its ilk), Marvels of Predestination ... Ch. 7, including *1; News 80.
Hannah, mother of Samuel, expressed it well (I Samuel 2):
"No one is holy like the LORD,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
"Talk no more so very proudly:
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the LORD is the God of knowledge:
And by Him actions are weighed..."
In fact, Tolstoy is so surreptitiously surrendered to some kind of materialism at least in vision in this field, that he imagines that there would be merely an empty formality if in the realm of space and time, freewill were able to act( Vol. 2, p. 1438). That is tantamount to saying that BECAUSE freedom of will (in any operationally significant fashion) is in his mind, inconsistent with ANY type of system involving space and time, therefore will cannot have any freedom within this one.
Since the point at issue is simply this, where is the conclusive power coming from, in historical development, then the exclusion of liberty on the ground that it is in irresolvable clash with the system, merely means that the system, in the mind of Tolstoy, is denuded of it. This cohesion of thought with architectural format and its type of causation is as callow as interesting. He does not simply state a materialistic misconception, as if the material things, theories of the immaterial, were what matters for some obscure reason. He IMPLIES it.
It is like saying, with Freud, since sex is at the heart of it, look at love with sexual eyes.
The presumption is otiose, since it is mere reductionism, the features in question having at times something in common, and at times, nothing, and constitutes a logical error of extension of the field of relationship to that of exclusive relationship, and of that where there is something in common sometimes, to that where all is in common always.
Similarly here. Because mind sometimes is found - as in man - in a context involving designed material things for its operational incarnation, and spirit the same, therefore it is felt that the site and format for it, IS the operation, and that the MODALITY for these magnitudes is what they comprise. A battery IS the energy, not a site for it; a mouse IS cat food, not actualisable as such and so on: this is the confusion.
Tolstoy, rather amazingly for a man with a mind, but less so with a man so intensively receptive to his culture, in this cannot conceive of things not predictable in terms of mathematically expressible law or their parallel, where everything from dot to dot is contained in such premises. The realisation that what HE HIMSELF is constantly doing, thinking, is not of this type, being filled with error to no small degree, does not seem to weigh. In that case, since law per se is of this compelling non-freedom type, in his view, he could not make error, for this would be IMPOSSIBLE or impermissible, daunting, a mere form, something out of the way for the controls.
When what you do in constructing thought is excluded irrationally from the system which you seek with thought to explain, it is obvious that you are not merely being simplistic and reductionist, but arbitrary and irrational as well. How could the impossible give the necessarily right answer ? or how could the omitted be explained in the system which omits it, and omitting, must explain it ?
It is not that the system of various kinds of law and liberty, cause and effect, excludes what is, the operational realities with which we think, for example. Rather is it that with Tolstoy, what is has an exclusion notice is being excluded from the den of acceptable gen, in a theory the object of which is to explain ALL! Being too hard for the desired system, however, in the mind of him who makes it, is no ground for excluding the data; it is scientifically a NECESSARY ground for two things: first, the gen must go in, and secondly, the theory must go out. .
Possibly no worse case of exclusion of a field designated for the explanation of it, outside Hume's, exists in any major philosopher; although, to be sure, there are such foozles in that field, that one had better conceive it rather as a rather extreme case, and let it be with its companions.
That is the nature of the case. For a more comprehensive look, however, we may survey further.
With God, it may be added, there is a complete and exhaustive, a comprehensive and qualitatively just knowledge of all His creations, none being except at His creation and contrivance, in its original height; and while there is in freedom a certain qualitative adventure, there is nothing which can shield itself from its Author, just as a literary writer can SEE the ways of the characters. God moreover in His predestinative power and wisdom, knows not only how to love without violence, but how to know without doing violence to the just expression of what He has made in His image. He MAY of course bring judgment on apace, as in the flood; and He may show vast patience (II Peter 3:9), as in this Age, which follows the showing of a free love which is His alone, and from which all other love derives, leading to the Cross for cancelling the guilt of the sin of man, for those who receive its sacrifice, Jesus the Christ.
He of course foreknows what we will do with our freedom, and what He will do with the results; and it is thus that He is able to predict, say the death date for Christ several centuries beforehand (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), the state of our Age at its ending (verified in Answers to Questions Ch. 5), and the performances of Jesus Christ when on earth (SMR Chs. 8-9). That is the empirical fact.
NOTHING escapes Him (Hebrews 4:13), but freedom with Him, unlike the case in this Epilogue, with Tolstoy, so far from being an impenetrable and upsetting mess for the system, is a part of the creation, contained well and wisely in the mind of infinite capacity and total and exhaustive knowledge. On this basis, He predicts continually in the Bible, declaring this (Isaiah 44:24-45:7):
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
'I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
Who frustrates the signs of the babblers,
And drives diviners mad;
Who turns wise men backward,
And makes their knowledge foolishness;
Who confirms the word of His servant,
And performs the counsel of His messengers;
Who says to Jerusalem, "You shall be inhabited,"
To the cities of Judah, "You shall be built,"
And I will raise up her waste places;
Who says to the deep, "Be dry!
And I will dry up your rivers";
Who says of Cyrus, "He is My shepherd,
And he shall perform all My pleasure,"
Saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built,"
And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."
"Thus says the Lord to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
'I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
'For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
'I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness ...' "
Perhaps, unconsciously, Tolstoy is yearning for something as complete as God yet without Him, trying to make one form or facet of one type of system contain all things, when it is merely what it is, a part of the creation from the mind of the Creator, whose versatility with systems of many kinds, is as vast as His infinite power and intelligence.
On this feature and focus on Israel, see for example amongst the scores of chapters on this area:
SMR Ch. 9,
It Bubbles ... Ch. 1, Ch. 11 (place in modern history, Gentile lurches, UN),
It Bubbles ... 2 (children, lands and scape-goat),
The Defining Drama Ch. 10;
It Bubbles ... Ch. 10 and Highway of Holiness Ch. 6, with Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 1 (Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah medley - HH 6, Gog and co.),
SMR pp. 823ff. (one place for the temple to be, which would be the symbolic exemplar for the one Christ who died in one place,
when His one predicted time came - Highway of Holiness Ch. 4);
News 53 (and 'all the nations' in Zechariah 14 ... today),
read with His Time is Near Chs. 4, 10;
Red Heart, Dead Heart ... Ch. 10 (Israel and the calling of names),
Of the Earth, Earthy ... Ch. 13 (the UN and Israel ... and others! and unity moves)
The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4
(divine movements on Jerusalem over time, on the empires, in the world)
Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 2 (no clone for Israel)
Divine Agenda Ch. 8 (the little matter of Israel and Islam ... and the world's pledges)
Great Execrations ... Ch. 4 (man and God concerning Israel,
cf. The Biblical Workman Chs. 1, and 3),
Israel 1 (God and Israel, God and man, conclusion with God is not only logical, but terminal destiny: meanwhile Israel blows the trumpet, but does not come).
Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch. 4 (Jewish solution)
Galloping Events Chs. 4, and 3 - broad biblical survey, including Romans 11.
See on Job and his testing:
TRIALS, TESTS and TRIUMPHS in TEMPTATION
CELESTIAL HARMONY FOR THE TERRESTRIAL HOST
REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy.
Examples beyond question, and vast in number, amazing in dealing to a large extent in what is medically incurable, and in a spiritual setting of some zeal, are to be found in He Heals Today, of Elsie Salmon, the wife of a missionary in South Africa, who also healed in England, and in the work, God's Grace, The Revival in Kaw Sizabantu, from Welly du Toit, one of a group of persons involved.
In both cases, exhibitionism and sensationalism are avoided like the plague, and results poured in like mountain torrents. This is simple, empirical fact. As in Christ's day, healing has its place as God attests to man His love, His power and His provisions, so that in liberty man may love, and in loving, have the freedom of the house.
On predestination and freewill, see the quintet of volumes below.
1. Predestination and Freewill
(based on research, MA Thesis, Melbourne University)
2. Marvels of Predestination and the Ways of Will
(for harmony intro. see esp. Ch. 3)
3. The Heavens are Telling
(Biblical Predestination has a Very Beautiful Face)
4. The Glow of Predestinative Power
AND THE SHOW OF
AND RENEGADE ROMANCING
The Love of Grace and the Grace of Love
and contrasting considerations popular in callow confusions