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Why it is that so many eminently sane people follow religions without any rational ground, or with gross logical anomalies. Answer: Because they will not face up to God (it requires the ultimate surrender, and faith); and hence will tend to seek anything which allows them to be themselves, to some degree, without capitulating to God, without indeed becoming someone bound to His service. Guilt may be partially appeased, desperation warded off for a time. Fazed or frenzied as if facing a total threat, they act unwisely: and this is exactly what they are facing.
Real though it is, this threat is not as they see it. It is twofold: first the threat of the fraudulent sect or philosophy they follow, to sanity, to truth, to reality for their lives; and second, the fiery condemnation fitted for triflers with the truth. Even the sun, and even at this distance, not given due shield and protection, nor dealt with wisely (as is the case with the canopy of the ozone layer...) may burn and perhaps blight with cancer. Brightness may indeed burn, even that which is blessing, when depreciated, scorned and disregarded.
If the skin may suffer, how much more the heart; if an organ may be compromised, what of the life ? If the means may suffer, what of the ends of life, for which it is made! Magnificence misused is not so magnificent... and man is derivative, not having life in himself: disbelief is not merely irrational, it is unwise. Shame is scorching the earth, before any sun.
Indeed, since there is only one truth, and this can only exist as God's perspective, then falsity of some sort is bound to occur in such spiritual escapades, even by clever minds. It does in fact. You would expect it. Here, then, is no problem. Further, if this did not happen, that would be contrary both to the principles of Christianity and its express teachings (e.g. Romans 1:21-23). Consult also the appealing and poignant verses of Jeremiah... 2:5-6,8,12-20: As merely an example, hear the last of these:
Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will reprove you: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and that my fear is not in you, says the Lord, the Lord of hosts. For of old time, I have broken your yoke, and burst your bands...Thus, in obtaining the solution to this problem from the Bible, we find once again further verification springing forth from the ground at our feet, as unsolicited as it is stimulating.
There is much more that the truth of the Bible, made incarnate in Christ, does solve; and one is unaware of anything which Biblical truth does not solve, through thinking with just a little diligence about it.
There is simply nothing else with that record.
Again, this is a first rate and masterful result in terms of verification, when you look at the teaching about God in the Bible. There is no alternative which begins to gain balanced consistency and persistency in solving all of the mental and moral and intellectual as well as personal problems in life... And you could expect God's evidences to share in and surge from His own mastery, of which we are spectators. This superabundance itself, then, is still further verification. (Cf. p. 989 infra.)
One could add that personally in terms of the promises of the Bible (e.g. Mark 11:23: I John 5:14-15; John 16:24, 15:7, 14:13-14, II Peter 1:3-4... esp. vv. 5-9), it is not only the case that problems are thereby solved; but it is delightful to see them so solved - especially as Biblical promises are pled in prayer. This is because it is fitting and even thrilling to work with your heavenly Father when He is such... that is, when by Christ you become a child of God adopted through the Saviour... and to see His hand move mountains and discern His eye upon you. Now one is tempted to add all this, and one has of course said it; but it is added in a different aspect, because we are not here appealing to personal and practical experience systematically; it is just that it is there and available, and overwhelmingly clear and forceful, when the Remedy, Jesus Christ, is received. Now that is ample further attestation, as a matter of fact. That is - it works... in the lab.. You would surely expect that!
Indeed there is one more verificatory procedure, which it is not in the power of the writer to implement; and logically it is not at all necessary. It is that the reader, if not yet a Christian, should so respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ as to be in a position to verify for himself the truth of the Biblical promises to which we have referred. As it says: "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who trusts in Him" (Psalm 34:6). John 10:9 and Romans 10:9, John 4:14 and I John 5:11-13, John 6:37, 40 and Luke 13:1-3, Romans 3:23-26 5:1-12, all make the way very plain. It is virtually impossible to write about Jesus Christ without saying, Look, see for yourself as did the woman at the well (John 4), John the Baptist (John 1:33, 35-36), Peter (John 1:41) and Philip (John 1:45). That verification would be like daylight coming into the innermost recesses of a large or labyrinthine library.
The theory lies stricken with the guilt of fiction, for they know from experience that option is actual and that they mess some of their options; that this may evoke a striking force from the command of conscience, that they may feel shame and grief and regret and amazement at their errors, or repress it and so on. This ultimate in reductionism beefs out belittlings to those who, deterministically conceived, wet their moral nappies; and requires 'better' things, when all along nothing is or could be better, since nothing is or could be good in a purely descriptive system.
Nor do the Commissars kindly explain: Now look here, we are only play-acting as you know. Clearly, as determinists in a merely observable system with no boss, overlord - or controller, there can be no occasion for concern at anything that happens. It is all merely a matter of convenience, and my determined particles are moving me to deal with yours in a way which is a thing my meaningless self will meaninglessly require of you. If you don't, my particles happen to be in a situation to interact with yours in such a way, that your current collation will be dispersed in some respects.
Nothing remotely like this do we hear. Not at all. "You are wrong. Horror! You have betrayed the people," (or some other god having value for some impossible reason, on their base). This, rather, is the happy little style of terminology the 'liberators' of Communism have used. "Therefore", say they, with a hypocrisy scarcely conceivable, but a good illustration of point 8 above, "repent of your having so betrayed us!"
(Actually, if you are thought of as betraying what 'history' wants to do - that means that history is able to be betrayed by a person, and that means that it is not fixed by 'forces' that run to an impersonal schedule; and that is the end of the myth of Marx.)
Thus shame and blame, these can relate to codes we may elect to select from times thousands of years ago, in small relation, adversative relation or transcendent relation to our own society. We are code selectors, and we relate to codes in this way. It is, then, just that this assumption that we are manoeuvred by society into thinking that what IT wants for its fabric is what is 'right' and that to break this is shameful, this does not meet the facts.
Such an attitude is adequate neither in theory nor practice to liberate either in conscience or from blaming others, under the 'mythological' aura that they actually are wrong and should feel ashamed. To feel shame for such a reason would be insanity. Is it then not fair to say that the system which implies such results is itself a work of insanity ? To explain what is not explained; and to act, while so explaining in opposition to one's theory, might more graciously be called a void of inconsistency. Let's leave it at that!
Guilt, as noted in our section on PSYCHIATRY, is simply not handled with therapeutic adequacy in theory or practice by pagan, secular psychiatry. lt cannot be accounted for in ways scientifically related closely to all the facts, and interpreting all the facts, with practical results (verifications which confirm that the theory may be right). The negative psychoanalytic results, and especially those for Freudianism make strange reading in any scientific setting. But error ? This too will not be resolved, as with the case of guilt, without God as source of value and purpose and freedom, and as revealed in Jesus Christ, the answer that meets all cases - including the practical requirements also. In this broader setting, let us recapitulate some of our earlier thought in systematic form.
Men make mistakes. Determined things cannot make mistakes. Therefore men are not determined. This simple reasoning is quite irrefutable. It is only one more exhibition of the fact of freedom, which, to be sure, is in a pathological state, Biblically speaking, on earth; yet still must and does exist.
Let us try to escape this reasoning. You may say: But machines also make mistakes. And machines are determined things. 50% for that. They are determined things; but they do not make mistakes.
Machines carry out precisely what their materials and arrangements require. The 'mistake' is in the mind; it is a failure to carry out the desire of the designer. His purpose may fail if the machine does not do what he wants. The mistake, if any, is his, for thinking the machine would do better or other than he made it do!
Mistakes then cannot be made by determined things; but they can be made by men. Hence men are not determined things.
Men either i) by accident or ii) on purpose, make mistakes.
They may love a series of values, by their own option, and resolve at all costs to carry them out, as a purpose. Then, either by i) sudden failure in reflection, or ii) desire that subordinates or bypasses reflection, they make what all the time they might have acknowledged to be a mistake (except of course, at the time of the action).
They are thus multiply different from determined things. They may fail:
i) to carry out their designs, what they want; or ii) abort their own design, what they are wanted, or functional for ... they may misuse a highly specific piece of personal equipment, or all equipment, for counter-functional purposes, so achieving its quick or slow destruction, without envisaging that destruction, even when it is their own loss or demise ... and, iii) they may do either i) or ii) on purpose, with more or less vexation and hate, horror or contortion. Indeed, so contorted may be the mind of man, that he may assault his own standards, in varied despairing or clouded ways, by perversely and perniciously following a moral or physical or mental 'death-wish' or vagrancy.
It is worse. Men, in such turmoils, and indeed even without being conscious of them, may deceive themselves, or visit psychiatrists who are themselves deceived, or not aware of or interested in perspectives which cover all the facts. And why ? It is in some cases because they have inward reasons, conscious or otherwise, for not 'desiring', not 'preferring' such perspectives, be they as effective as you will.
This person called man is, by definition, many removes from determined. Mistakes are merely one totally obvious indication of that. Shame and blame and guilt are another such index: for non-insane persons are forever assigning blame to those whom they allege to have no freedom... at times, even to themselves! Guilt, as we saw in Chapter 4 (supra), is not removed by merely exposing alleged grounds in past experience. It does not work that way, after the manner of any law. Shame is not deleted by humanist doctrine. Goodness is not derivable, except for duped madmen, from mere preference. Men are forever seeming to imagine others to be utter fools; but it is not so. There is in such a view of goodness as mere preference, as preferred courses and so on, no ground for such a deception, in a heart that knows no ideals itself. In such a hypothetical amoral situation, savage selfishness remains ever the same. Goodness is not derivable.
Thus some of the theories about these things in fact provide an excellent basis through contrast with the actual spread and scope of data, for exhibition of all these facts, an exposition of freedom. Such theories, wholly unworkable, may themselves take their origin in desire (later recognised... as we find in literature, but is it in literature alone ? ... for what it was); they may proceed in contradiction, both of workability in practice and coherence of parts, and be adhered to with a fine display of the imperiousness of the will... Will of what ?
Why, the will of this non-determined and sometimes perverse creature called man: the will of that! Such theories, such activities form thereby one more exhibition of the reality of freedom! Further, in total oblivion of all cost, man may do the very opposite of this.
He may so adhere to the beauty of truth that he ignores pain and continues unmoved, just where evidence and reason point, and in particular, stable with the revelation of God which these indicate and to which they direct so irrefutably. In so doing, a man may use his will against all social customs, conventions and constraints; he may indeed, supported by God, resist all tortures and punishments, selecting and rejecting outside the whole domain of his cu1ture.
Again, and on the contrary to this, a man may even deny God and then invest himself with imaginary powers of an assumed objective perspective, even though he is a limited subject and can see that he is so; or he may conceive that he can make gods pop up simply by ignoring the problems in the concept. Ignoring totally the dimensions needed for objectivity, and the fact that he is a subject reacting (on a deterministic view) according to whatever it happens to be, one producing merely a series of psychic flash points, exhibitive of his own surface faces and underlying series on the one hand, and of those of whatever other thing is interacting, or is being hit - psychically, physically or mentally - on the other: he may act as if absolute truth were his domain, without once seeing even its gate!
He may grow imaginary eyes with which to 'see' from an absolute perspective which he denies to exist. He may declare, with a great mouth, words which depict an absolute reality on which his views are based. On his own views, in such a case, however, this absolute is not there.
So many dimensions of delusion have been noticed as we investigate these atheistic/ deterministic theories: uncomprehended chasms, clashing contradictions open up their fatal flaws before us - in matters of blame, error, validity, pseudo-self-deification. It is, from a contemporary point of view, fitting to note here that all the above deliciously obscurantist irrationalisms, or contradictions, are abundantly performed by the deluded followers of Marx. But he is merely one - currently practically exposed - manipulator of men.
Man: such wonders he performs as if he were God Himself, with reflections beyond all reflex, with reality beyond all limitation, freely giving an uninfluenced account of things as they really are, while wholly unfree in his functions, on his own statement... (Marx and Freud being mere examples of the madness). In fact, he says at other times, he is bound to his psychic sores and mental quirks, conditioned by his society, or history, or whatever seems fashionable to assert: yet arising like a flame from ashes, he talks without impediment on what the 'facts' are, and reaches to the unconditioned realities, with unconditioned mind! One might have hoped that he would have remembered his own earlier propaganda ...
It is most important to realise that this conjuring trick is the philosophic prelude to the antichrist who, in one form (in one very special form, as the Scripture states with delicious humour, though greatest horror) will 'show himself that he is God.' (II Thessalonians 2:4-7).
That piece of 'showing off', it is some show. Of such a one, Daniel 11:36 notes "he shall magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods", yes and he will "do according to his own will..."! What else ? It is scarcely according to truth that such claims could be made - except by that eternal God who is, what that devil's messiah fraudulently claims! Small wonder Daniel attributes to the coming man of sin "a mouth speaking great (pompous) things" (7:8) and Peter exposes this genre of person as "speaking great swelling words of emptiness" (II Peter 2:18): and what will their finale and consummation be, in his grandeur! The Lord will destroy him, says II Thessalonians 2, in the "brightness of His coming" (2:8, cf. 1:6-8).
Freedom to err, freedom to will against the truth because one will, freedom to reject the God who is willing to save to the uttermost: this constitutes an ultimate if negative freedom. This for man is ultimate since positively, actually becoming God is not within the options because of eternity alone. You cannot begin rather later to be the One who always was!
Yet limitation on freedom does not annihilate it: History is the consequence, in substantial measure, of the distinction!
Freedom, impossible without God, in the interstices of (assumed) indefinitely outreaching webs of interactions, by its very force attests God; errors and individual purpose distinguish man from matter, and things determined; and all the paraphernalia of guilt, blame, shame and their implications, attest the same. The disposability of the will, the conception of moving this way or that according to opted values or rejecting views, holding oneself poised and foreseeing guilt or the lack of it, shame or blame or the absence of these, caring about this or not doing so: these are the psychic intimacies correlative to freedom. (They relate to that spirit in man, which neither ignores his equipment, as though a boarder, nor is played by it, as if he were a pianola to his biological 'music', but utilises it while he lives with it, and must manage it, though it also is partly contrived for his convenience. He is responsible to God, and spiritually bruised when he is not also responsive; and out of control in this or that way, when out of the life of God, he careers like a brilliant rocket: in the dominant role, now exhaust, now thrust, now spinning.) For unconverted man in his daily life, the final validity of freedom is absent, but its form and instinct is present, with results of characteristic poignancy.
The experiential removal of guilt, and the reconstruction of the personality in spiritual regeneration, are two more aspects consistently appearing in the midst of the divine revelation and its application: vigorous and verificatory. Not the less so in the instantaneous character often visible in change of this kind; and its permanence.
What, we may ask, however is in fact shown by the man of sin when he shows himself that he is God, in marked contradiction of the facts of his limitations ? It is this: it shows error, and power to err, and purpose and will, and what I call 'person': the image-of-God (however broken), powers which though limited in us, are correlative to autonomy, in God. It shows what one might call 'spirit'.
This topic is touched on in different contexts elsewhere in this work; for example in pp. 842-850, 750A-D infra, and pp. 264 ff. supra; and it is treated at length in my PREDESTINATION AND FREEWILL and its supplement, "The Father of Freedom".
This particular aspect of freedom, desire for dominance AS the divine, on the part of man, is highly significant for prophecy. We have already seen, and see increasingly, the systematic prelude politically and philosophically, for what is predicted; and we shall see it ecumenically (pp. 264 ff., supra; Chapter 9, end of Section 4 B infra). Modern politics in turn is increasingly bound by philosophy, as exemplified in Marxism with its deterministic fallacy, and various forms of ideological warfare now raging. It is now, from all of this, only a small step to a man who 'shows himself that he is God' by being given a 'mouth speaking great things', arrogating divine prerogatives of power, in theory, to himself (Daniel 7:20-26). It is too difficult, however, for such a die-hard to avoid death (Ezekiel 28:9, II Thessalonians 2:8). It is a question of ultimate cost, for the ultimate... experiment.
Man's actions fully, and continually, verify first his status as in the image of God, and secondly his state, as defiling it through what is properly called miscreancy, the mischievous misuse of created status.
Remove the turban, and take off the crown; nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the lowly, and abase the exalted. Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him... Ezekiel 21:26-27.Haggai 2:7,22 makes its universal application even more explicit.
To the "profane wicked prince of Israel" is this addressed; of the Lord Jesus Christ is the terminus addressed. The overthrow is to be perpetual, the removal obstinate, until the one comes who, unlike the wicked prince, has a right to it, is right for it and in it.
Thus no king, prince, kingdom or system of rule, nothing for which the crown is the symbol will remain as a stable, sure, steadfast form of rule and government. Nothing without Christ will endure; and more than that, no crowned head will become a suitable form of rule for man till that crowned head bows to Jesus Christ, and the Christ Himself actually bears the rule.
There will be kingdoms and empires, good or bad, vast or quixotic, more in the line of bananas or peaches, or of the fruit of the passion: but they will not endure. There will be government by the 'wise' as Plato had in mind, and as Lenin had to hand, except that there was nothing in the hand; and the minds for which Plato had such a desire, that they rule, these had not the facility. One fantasy or another: power, superiority, condescension, with one hand overarching the church - as the English so foolishly tried to make it; with no church, as the Communists far more foolishly tried; with Roman Catholic massacres in mind, as from James 11 of England; or with Presbyterians for the cages, as in Scotland at the gracious hand of Charles II; with economic 'insights' as in Singapore, but with man in the grip of what it takes to get what is wanted: so they come ... they flourish and are great. (Cf. pp. 1191-2 infra.)
Yet even if the sun never sets on their dominions, as with the British Empire, surely in its day one of the best of them all, yet it will set; for they will all be overthrown until He comes whose right it is. That is the message of the text, in one major phase.
What is their aim ? is again the more important question, rather than, How accurately are they aiming them! What are they about ? Who is fighting whom and for what ? Is it a matter of getting food, or riches, or power, or dominance or is it trickery or even treachery; or is it co-operation - and with whom, doing what; and for how long before they are after something very different ? Who can trust whom, and to do what and for how long ?
Such questions bedizen the dizzy minds of politicians and rulers. Hitler tried to trick Stalin and vice versa; nations make treaties while seeing with whom to do the actual business. Deceit stalks like a lion. Morals are (ask Mr Keating) for many a matter of survival, and the fittest is self-defined! Fit for what ? For hell ? or for surviving, doing what ? why ? Who is right and who has motive, reason, knowledge and wisdom ? Which fit persons will end the race ? Which fit people will destroy the earth ? Fit ? for what ?
The Russians were very fit for polluting Europe, devastating East Germany, ruining their economy and giving a wonderful lead in the area of what simply doesn't work. They might have blown up the planet, still presumably 'fit'; for blowing things up shows just how fit you are, it seems - while making the world unfit for anyone to live in.
There is no 'fit' in being fit, for 'fitness' leaves out the question, to what end ? A tennis player is fit for tennis, it may be, but not for share broking; a lawyer for arguing a case, but not for his wife's peace of mind. The term 'fit' is void of meaning without qualification; and 'fit to survive' does not specify anything at all, just a result, and that could be removed by anyone's trick, or a circumstance that no one foresaw. This devil's talk of fitness is merely a name for pride; and it has no reference to any quality definable at all.
Thus there is a vast spread of ideas and thought, of religions and morals, a profusion of confusion, while very fit things and people which don't happen to fit into this earth at all, strive about who will have the very fit honour of fitting the key to the force which will remove the earth, a very fitting end for power talk which lacks direction, quality and meaning. Nothing shall remain the same! That is what is to be the symptom, or if you like the syndrome, while the Christ of the Bible is denied, or remains despised by many in governments such as our own here in S.A., a State in which, according to some, perhaps two billion dollars have been lost in very fit but not so fitting investments outside the State, most intelligently made, so that the money is lost; as if the casino is not merely for the public, but a symbol of the ravished ethics that afflict the State. The immoral religious blasphemies implied or produced within this government, concerning creation and religion, these remain a clear testimony of will against the Bible; for reason they do not provide. Nor can they; for to reason against your God is to reason against your own reason which He created; and if you own no God, then there is no place from which to find any knowledge, any truth. Only... experiences remain. Nevertheless, they tell us what they wish to say about God, religion and the Bible, while billions of dollars most fitly fly away. Perhaps it is a divine irony to meet the blasphemy and the irrational presumption.
Nothing the same, as in the South of the U.S. after the Civil War. No more did their wealth remain, moreover, and the South, so aristocratic and assured, became a depressed area. Jefferson Davis did not prevail; he dismissed one popular General of whom one said, among the soldiers, 'We loved him because he made us love ourselves,' proceeding to replace him with a man of action, already minus arm and leg, who crusaded only to be defeated. The Roman Church was quick to support Davis, but he failed.
The nation began to become different; no longer quite so much a matter of doing what you like, but of doing what your peers consider right, or being in the line of war. And this has gone on, till the peers appear to have decided by numerous small degrees over time, that homosexuality must be allowed, just as slavery must not, and this form of abominable serfdom of man to man, woman to woman, has risen to change the nation into a soup of permitted promiscuities. Our own nation, Australia has become a new moral overlord, telling us, likewise, that there is only one really wrong thing in the final analysis, at the level of ideals, and that ? It is to tell anyone that his religion, morals or perhaps ideals are wrong.
They do not see that this is one more moral rule: thou shalt not tell anyone that his morals, ideals, religion are wrong, because that is wrong! It is not very intellectually elevated; but it is enormously appealing to people who specialise in living wrong, because then their living wrong has become (verbally) impossible, thus allowing them to be free to do it with a clear conscience (in theory). Yet if anything is wrong, even calling anything wrong, then morals are back, and this piece of impertinent inconsistency for which our present national government seems to be famous, continues to contradict itself, calling those wrong, such as Christians who apply the Bible as absolutely true. This, duly applied, they disapprove with as good a will as any preacher denouncing perversion or alcoholism or unbelief in Christ! ... The difference ? such people have no rational grounds; they endorse indifferently the contradiction of their own obvious design, or its employment; and they contradict themselves in their entire approach to morals, as we see, heartily condemning themselves, without appearing to notice, as they condemn those who condemn.
Yet the purpose of the Christian is not to condemn (John 3:17), but that people might be saved; the condemnation being the antecedent exposure of the condition which needs salvation. Intolerance of the truth becomes masked as this blatant contradiction, that there be no condemnation. So the assault on the throne of Jesus Christ continues, as it will, until He comes to whom it is due.
Nothing shall remain the same ... the atmosphere changes, the moon finds men on it, radioactivity sweeps nations even in wild wilderness conditions to the North of Europe, while atheistic Russians build their atomic plants carelessly, and Europe, having survived the French anti-clerical revolution, of 1789, returns from the Russian anti-God revolution of 1917 to draw breath and wonder how it could be made different... again.
This statement of Ezekiel, therefore, is currently being enacted, is verified before our eyes as surely and consistently as when it was first made! It is as true, without Christ as King, as any law of physics! Nothing else in government is stable, endures, works: overturned indeed, with perhaps nauseous, but certainly necessary consistency.
As to Israel, where this prophecy was declared, it has lost its kings... alas, it lost even the place to have kings, having forfeited even the land in which kings would have ruled them, for nearly two thousand years... surely rather a long time for anyone to be set 'in the corner'. But then, the crucifixion of Christ was not done in a corner; and when you kill the king, there is a problem when He returns, as the resurrected Christ Jesus the Lord did (Acts 2:36), to continue His work of salvation till He comes in His Kingdom, while you continue in your own...
In the Jewish case, this meant waves of rulers from foreign lands occupying Palestine, Turks and Crusaders, Persians and Romans ... never Jews, till recently, would rule. Now there are ... new forms of rule, democracy and division. They, like any other, their prophet makes clear, will find stability only in the worthy king, the Christ, whom they crucified, and whom much of the world ignores, rejects or refuses as well. Jew and Gentile alike are in the rigours of this rejection syndrome.
Thus the crowns are lifted up from the heads, and the rulers are set down from their thrones. You ever have the same principle ineptly applied in some forms of contemporary education. Thus the 'disappearing dias' as it has been called, the raised up platform of the teacher becomes the flat floor of equality, and youngsters, often expertly trained to be brats, show off what the race can become, if you really dedicate yourself to the destruction of authority. Who more eloquent in this than the famed Dr Spock, who told the generation he had 'served' that his no rule philosophies for bringing up children, had tended to produce in effect, a nation of horrors.
No, the removal of all authority is not the answer, any more than the replacement of this and that, on and on, like so many permutations and combinations of possible thoughts and groups, ideas and ideals, commissars and servants of the people, call them what you will. Neither the downward movement of authority, nor its ludicrous misuse, shown in Communism - exemplified in China, when some men whose bodies the worms will probably eat, tell others as if they were children, what to think - in one of the most irrational exercises of arbitrary authority since Nero: neither of these movements of authority is stable. Neither extreme is effective, neither is true, neither realistic, neither realises the Lord, before whom all will be overthrown, for to them it is not due; but to Him, whose it is, from whom the race has come. What then of this incredibly ineffective substitute for the truth ?
They invoke hate, or staleness, boredom and blood. They do not work. They merely play with the mind of man by telling it to be quiet and listen, and then, speaking as if from God, they speak what they wish, denying God. The absolute truth comes from shrivelled lips, which deny there is such a thing; and it is so absolute, that if you disobey it, absolutely, your life is ready for scrapping.
And this ? The Communists call it the 'liberation'of man!
Such is the madness to which the race has come in vast areas of its life, simply because it will not recognise the Lord Jesus Christ; while the problem of how to live does not possess an answer without Him.
Ad nauseam, this fact is demonstrated by failure.
If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.In this sense, He is subjected to the same murderous venom in China very often, or other places of focussed unbelief, as when He was in the flesh. Why do you persecute Me ? Christ asked Paul, long after He Himself had ascended to heaven. Now it was Christians whom Paul persecuted... Yet you persecute me! said Christ...
It is this living Jesus Christ, the One "to whom it is due", both majesty and government: it is He who is coming again. Then will the kingdom immovable be seen, that of the Gospel of peace, pardon and purity, of reality in rule and conscience, of truth that is declared from an absolute and therefore rational base, from a sinless and therefore reliable person, whose power nothing ever made to change... He will come to it when this gospel has girdled and cradled the earth long enough.
"This Gospel", said Christ, "of the kingdom will be preached in all the world asa witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14).
Moses laid down the law, while prophesying Christ, and picturing Him in sacrificial patterns; Christ set forth the Gospel, embodying it; history overturns the feckless experiments of man; and then shall the end come. It will be long enough; but Christ is not willing that any should perish, and prolongs the time, like a kindly examiner extending the session (II Peter 3:9).
Yet as to the end itself, He is dramatic, emphatic, graphic. He will come like lightning from West to East, and select His own, while the final writhings of worthless, irrational and ruthless men squalidly fight it out at Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16), into the midst of which the truth, like a sword comes. Indeed Christ comes, His mouth like a sword, and judgment according to truth replaces the impudent philosophies of man (Romans 2:2, Revelation 19:11 ff.).
But now let us rather turn to that glorious verse in Revelation 22:
And the Spirit and the bride say, "come!" and let him who hears say, "come!" and let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely (verse 17).We stress that desire is there; even those who want to escape it, like Buddhists or Hindus, are still desiring just that! But the Lord grants the desire of the righteous (Proverbs 10:24), and Christ the desire of the nations is to come, we find in Haggai, that delicious little book, hidden like the 'Stute fish, next to the massive and glorious prophecies of Zechariah. The desire ? Yes HE is what they are really about, like people desiring company, but using prostitutes, desiring truth, but employing philosophies, desiring peace, but using policemen: this is the kernel, the crux and the key to what they are seeking, the actuality for which they fumble, not even knowing, quixotically, for what they look. He is to come; and until His rule is in place, the earth will continue unstable, confused and turbulent.
You cannot bring Him back, though as we see in Revelation 22:20, you can and should pray for His early coming: "Surely I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" says John. Again, the Spirit and the bride say come! If this is your mind, if this is your expectation, that helps to keep your heart pure (I John 3:1-3).
But look at it - Revelation 22:17: "Let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely". If you desire, take it. It is there. If you do not desire it, do not complain. Nobody is cheated. It is there. Take it! Take Christ, come to Him, for salvation, in repentance; in prayer, if saved! But come! Take of the water of life freely. It flows. It flows right through you, if you come. Indeed, in John 4:14, we find, in promise, as in believing hearts in practice:
The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain springing up into everlasting life, and again, He who believes in Me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water - John 7:38.Leave to God His predestination: If you want Christ, then simply take Him and tell Him so, and thank Him for being available and rest yourself on Him, who did not rest until He had finished the work which made the gift of everlasting life so easy for you (in the sense you create nothing, merely accept, by faith).
He took the hard, walked the gruesome way, crying,''My God! my God! why do you forsake me!'' as He bore the sin that severs, excluded for the moment even from the conscious company of His eternal Father, His from all eternity, to enable His people to know God for all eternity to come: how unhappy the man who will not even accept him and His salvation at that! He knew that this would be His experience, for it was written (Psalm 22:1); but He became the victor on the part of those defeated by sin, who come to Him, granting them the victory (I John 5:4-5). Who could despise such a victory, or abandon the work of such a victor!
What is it like ? It is like a man who, offered rescue from drowning by a life saver who gave his life getting him out of the depths of surging ocean waves, goes back to within three feet of the shallows, and then decides to sink, because really, he doesn't want anyone else to save him. Hell is not a mere arbitrary decision; it is the end of the road for those who prefer darkness to light. If you do not do so, then take Christ; and taking Him, follow Him, and following Him, obey Him, and obeying Him, love Him, and loving Him, worship Him, and worshipping Him, worship God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, delighting in HIS STABILITY, HIS CHANGELESSNESS, HIS STAYING THE SAME. "From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Psalm 90:2).
Thy years are throughout all generations. Of old Thou hast laid the foundations of the earth... they will perish, but Thou are the same. And Thy years will have no end. The children of Thy servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before Thee - Psalm 102:25-28.The history of the world is an eloquent illustration of the general malaise and folly of man; but specifically of the derangements of this wild and irrational desire to dethrone Jesus Christ; but overturned it has been, is and will be, until He is enthroned, who gives not a political philosophy for the blind, but a godly rule for those who see. The longer the world continues incapable of replacing Him, the more obviously is fulfilled the word of Ezekiel; and the overturning, it racks the world, which rejects the rule of Jesus Christ, the one which works, fulfilling the righteous desires of the heart, and the dynamic needs of the design, called man.
Let us reflect on these things, to the strains of Isaiah 40, part of which is set to music that echoes its magnificence. (This is for the DVD version.)
On the other hand, there are others who invent 'imperatives' for man without bothering - or perhaps feeling inclined - to consult with God. Amongst these are those splendid folk who make matter not only speak, but have important messages for us - perhaps the greatest philosophical (or magical ?) illusionists of all time; certainly they are star performers. (Cf. pp. 422J ff. supra, 750B-D infra.)
Such performers are seen in the age-old, tiredly-aged efforts in astrology on the part of some. Michael Van Bursdick in his Astrology: Revival In The Cosmic Garden, 1978, p. 3 writes: "One's future can be forecast, allegedly, because astrology asserts the unity of all things. This is the belief that the Whole (or all of the universe put together) is in some way the same as the Part (or the individual component or man), or that the Part is a smaller reflection of the Whole (macrocosmic/microcosmic model). This makes man a pawn in the cosmos with his life and actions pre-determined and unalterable."
Shakespeare voices a different view: Not in our stars but in our selves ...
Over that, it is rather much to make a material universe voice thoughts, or express them, in a unity which incorporates all minds in a synthetic whole which has a speech capacity, especially when you get the whole writhing conflicting mass and mess of philosophical wrangle and tangle.
This sort of deviously hidden 'God', without so much as the advantage of personality, is perhaps the greatest myth of all time. Why ? Not only does matter talk; but hidden in it, capriciously, cavernously and certainly contradictorily, is mind; and in that is personality with which to determine what is to be, what is wanted amongst the possibilities which so much tangle marvellously enables, when 'interpreting' the 'whole'. It really makes Roman Catholic canon law and the need to 'harmonise' all its contradictions... look small by comparison. At least that was written by what, in some sense, was a collection of real people!
For our immediate point, however, this yields one more case of the deterministic feeling or flair, the desire to be told, even if only by a speechless universe, what is to be, even if by a synthetic voice which, like magnetic tape, is not necessarily heard.
Atoms, stars, worms, psychological chinks - like power, sex, strife, struggle, personality types, what you will: all are so very 'determined', and so many who like... (My DEAH!, this one)... one or the other, like social women choosing fashion dresses, are 'just dying' to have this one chosen. Then we can all be determined in this 'very special way'.
The minds of course, that 'determine' what determines man, are - as being themselves determined - not available for free consideration of the actual course of forces, as has been shown at length in Chapter 3 supra. See also DETERMINISM.
2 Kant's contortions are 'treated' at some length in Predestination and Freewill, Appendix on Kant (cf. references also in this volume: note *21, Chapter 2 supra). Note that as 'freedom' is liberated from Kantian chains, in the shadowy realm of Kant's noumena, so no less is 'design' (cf. pp. 103 ff., 113-114 supra); and the whole inglorious irrational romanticism of 'as if' philosophy recedes like morning mist. Not merely are Kantian noumena impossible logically, charged with conceptual self-contradiction, but as seen and illustrated in Chapter 3 (supra), Chapter 10 and Appendix D (infra): logic needs itself to invalidate itself, and if invalid, cannot invalidate.
3 EXTENSION on FREEDOM TO ERR. - see pp. 440 ff., infra. See also Life Functions of Man, and Synthetic Review, pp. 348-349C infra.
4 Romans 8:29, 9:10-11.
5 Non-perspective. It is of interest to reflect on Kant's contribution in another aspect. The impossibility of his theories are adequately exposed earlier. However, there is another question. Why did he construct such abortive theories ? Was there an inward impetus, and did this have any racial significance ?
Just as man cannot know the truth without God, as has repeatedly been demonstrated in this work, so there is an innate trend to rationalise or construct a theory to account for this beleaguered, disjointed, or inadequate, baffled or baulked feeling, that attends this fact when the man does not know God. This may even be enhanced, given special fortifications, when there is a particularly near-to-the-surface rebellion, making some sort of camouflage or meteor-barrier, as it were, seem apt.
Motive is therefore not hard to find; though it may work quite unconsciously, especially when the subject does not care to admit his rebellion.
Miasma may be another element in such movements towards irrational theories. That is, because the knowledge of God is practically divorced from the subject by unrepented sin, this is the experience. Because again, there is no intention of repentance in many cases, the heart being hardened, there may be a trend or tendency to establish an operational status quo, in which a seemingly systematic barrier prevents the knowledge of God.
It is - in such cases - quite true that there is one. However it is not a mental, but a spiritual inadequacy which is the cause and the case; and it is not an innate spiritual inability but an injured spirit's lack of wholehearted desire for God, on and in His own stated terms, which leads to the leaden casket, as it were, of containment and confinement. God puts it succinctly: Why will you die ?
In Biblical terms, therefore, we have not merely the ground for truth which Kant lacks, so that even his theory cannot consistently be formulated; you even have the rational ground for Kant's making the theory. Much more - and there is great pity in this - you can see the troubled Kant with his divorced God, unable to reach Him (because the only acceptable and divinely given method appears to have been rejected, discarded or ignored), Feeling a barrier, so that he has his 'moral imperative' coming from no rationally detectable source... because he is separated from God.
Indeed, Kant falls into massive self-contradiction by trying to have it both ways: to ward off God and yet to allow in somehow, a felt moral imperative coming from the unknowable beyond, but doing very nicely for all that, thank you! In this, it seems he is hearing rather the structural echo of conscience or a heavily muted call, and not the clear voice of the known God. The 'voice' of his allegedly unknowable God is nevertheless highly conceptual, in his system, though coming from what he has sought to make unconceptualisable; and no word play can permit such an intrusion from the systematically excluded ! He cannot escape reality, though it means the automatic destruction of his system.
These poor people who know what cannot be known (on their own view) must know the nature of the unknowable in order to know that it cannot be known; for if they do not, then they cannot know this of it, its unknowability. Yet if they do know it, then it is knowable. The proposition to exclude God, excludes merely itself. It is a production of pathology, and suitably irrational.
After all, if knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent is eternal life, then not knowing Him will be an element of the life of the non-Christian, who may indeed feel 'driven' to seek some sort of intellectual satisfaction, or moral relief, in constructing even an irrational theory, rather than face the rational God, and repenting, receive Him.
6. I am not impressed by symbolic WORDS per se. It is their connotation ...
In fact, a whole resource, a lake if you will, of magnificence is tapped by the use of that word "GOOD"! That lake gives value to what the word is applied to; and enshrines in its sweep and scope the basis for desirability in securing that word at all, a word which so many ardently seek for themselves, whatever their opinion of themselves, of their peers or their society. A cheque similarly is not such an artistic piece of paper; nor are its words so lofty; it is really what it connotes that lends value to it.
This resource of connotative splendour, evoked by the word "GOOD" has appeal, attraction, has force and lends desirability, as well as distinctness to this concept. Thus substitutes of will ('I want!') and subjectivism (e.g. 'I feel') IN AND OF THEMSELVES, or in concert, are quite able to be affirmed of something: while at the very same time and in the same regard, any thought of "goodness" would frankly be denied to it. This applies to the very same person, society, culture, or overall. The thing in view can be willed, wanted, desired, responded to most positively and so forth: without there being any thought of its being GOOD!
When the term 'GOOD' is given its full rein, it smacks of an intrinsic authority or unlimited appeal to the individual nature. Its use is a seal, at the broadest and most general level, IF it can be defended. Its defence can rouse passions; or its denial: where opinions would be scorned, were they but those of the speaker IN AND BY HIMSELF, or of society, for its part ... if that were all the purport.
This leads to the concept of THE VOID. Not only is there no source for the mythical concept that "goodness" invented itself (the normal unscientific romancing, not really attenuated by casual and irrational reductionism), but the virtually infinite character of design in our bodies, not to mention the necessities of the Creator, elsewhere seen, at once show the only reasonable, non-reductionist and rational explanation of the power, point and reality of the term good in its full scope, and most distinctive connotaton. It means "ACCORDING TO THE REALITY OF THE DESIGN THAT IS MAN," with of course a flavour of the force and the dynamic of that design: "ACCORDING TO TRUTH OR AFTER THE NATURE OF THINGS, AS THEY ARE MEANT TO BE," and so, "ACORDING TO THE CHARACTER OF GOD THE MAKER, AND AS THE MAKER."
Goodness has, at its acme, a potent application from a potent source and gives potent intimations, which nothing else really explains; and this can happen, like so much else, in places where the premises are forcibly denied! ... the premises on which the above rational definition of goodness is based. It is rather like the Communist case, where freedom is denied in a world ostensibly dependent on and derivative from matter, a deterministic world, when guilt is nevertheless ascribed to those who did not DO (the necessary, the desired and the inevitable ...)! Guilt is accorded them, notwithstanding, and shame is their portion, though in strict theory, it was not in their power to do otherwise.
Here is the parallel - the case of 'GOOD' for character: relative to that of 'obligation' and 'ideal' for 'RIGHT'. As mere description cannot create what ought to be, no more can mere commendation or acceptance or agreement create a standard to which the maverick may bow, at which the hero tremble and the saint fall down.
Matter-men who take themselves seriously (matter is serious, though it is hard to see why it should take itself, anywhere or for anything, rather than simply moving around in some line or other) ... these are useful in this regard. Which? That they attest the invisible stamp of God on their beings, whilst they deny Him; using terms and taking cases of action which are meaningless without Him, and even in delicious disregard and contradiction of the force of their conscious protestations.
7 Actually, there is here a specific and explicit Biblical principle in view, as well as the more general result of necessary hopelessness for world rule, following man's efforts in the world to rule without Christ; his forsaking rather than following the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. This principle is verified in history, as man cavorts and imports ideas from philosophy, empires and civilisations: all his methods and machineries aborting.
This Biblical principle applies like any law of physics, though its superintendence is at a direct and personal level; and its verification can be inspected. The exposition of this Biblical principle, found in Ezekiel 21:26-27 and echoed with force in Haggai 2:7,22, with its application and verification in view, is now to follow.