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A few million killed in Cambodia because of the ideological impressions of others; a country virtually extinguished in Biafra, with starvation procedures while U.N. forces were involved with no overwhelming sense of preventing the matter graciously, if they had the power; a few tens of millions rubbed out from the ledger of this life by a man now being considered in Russia as perhaps a paranoid, Stalin; and it seems other millions removed by the leader Malcolm Fraser saw fit to honour, on his death: Mao in China - the man who played God with his little ideas before a bombarded people who even had compulsory loudspeakers in the country, the better to be indoctrinated with his petty ideological tyrannies... all this is not entirely commendable. Gassed remains of Iraqi assaults on tribespeople in nomadic vastnesses, children in masses with their screams ignored for philosophic reasons by the author of Mein Kampf, cold showers in icy weather with suffocation techniques and psychological blasting whilst wonder drugs are used to induce depression in that fabled land of Communist Russia, now yet more fabled and seeking aid... all these things do not constitute much of a reference for Gentiles.
In the end, the world is in pathology ward, and they cart out corpses making new beds for growing infants. Is it too ghastly ? Surely there is much good ? Yes, a man with multiple cancer may have much going well in his body. It is just that it is most unwise to ignore the symptoms that something, well, is not quite entirely right.
The book of Revelation has it to perfection: Speaking of a time when 'a third of mankind was killed'- a fraction no longer able to rouse the sardonic grin from those sophisticates who have always inhabited this earth from long ago, it leaves the impression that perhaps that would make some impact on the race. Perhaps, just possibly they would consider their articulate Creator and His will and words ? After all, they are not as we constantly maintain, hard to locate. But no! We rather read that "the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, but they kept on worshipping devils and idols... Nor did they repent of their murders, sorceries, immoralities or thefts" (Rev. 9:20-21).
But... but...! Yes, murderers, mass murderers, if they have 'ideological grounds' are not really so bad, if we think they may have a point, it may be felt. Is that right? We feel and others cease, in this earth, altogether to feel at all, in some millions. We have, perhaps, to take the 'broader view' ? Which is that ? The view that God's creations in His image, called man, are dispensable for the sake of the ideas of others of them ? Bravo, but we cannot expect to impress the Creator of us all by this presumption of supremacy, and by so dealing with His property with our little thoughts. An even uglier side to it is this: those who so act are playing God themselves, acting as if their words and thoughts are to be sovereignly enacted on the citizenry of their country, or increasingly, the world.
That sort of impersonation is ultimately blasphemy. It is bad enough to impersonate the boss, but when you get to the level of God ... the case is in the very deep heart of pathology. The department is crowded and the only workable remedy - return to God with recreation of heart - is generally, either by the genteel or the self-possessedly dynamic, not well-regarded.
All of these horrors could be regarded as verificatory of such scriptures as these: Luke 21:9-11. This prophecy of Jesus Christ is fulfilled to satiety:
And when you hear of wars and disturbances do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not come soon.He also told them,
Nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places as well as famines and pestilences. And there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.This has happened for numerous, almost innumerable reasons. Basically it is because the world is becoming more populated by more people who in technically more ways, and with more power, are thus doing more things to more people, whilst destroying the fabric God made for human life in the meantime; and because God is as He said, bringing judgments on such a world.
In a sense there is a vortex: human folly and divine judgment. But there is also, beyond the whirl-pool of human woe, worry and folly, an island, the Isle of Mercy where, with the hands of faith the water of truth and the food of righteousness may be found on the soil of mercy. Yet judgment on the repentant world system: it remains.
This is not only general judgment (Romans 8:20-22), but special and incremental (Revelation 9 as noted: cf. 8:1-7, 9:6). Further the world is able to enjoy its prodigious physical and visual, aural communication networks to spread every evil thing faster, that might otherwise have lurked more quietly. Hardened by such things, more unfounded, godless people lose more restraints, whilst more leaders show as little patience, in requiring by advanced means, debased things of millions of victims. Some of these are even for a time enthusiastic about their 'fate', though as in the case of Russian Communism, and increasingly with Chinese, the disillusion natural to folly is setting in. But how should we designate the turbulence of the passion as it is breathed into man ?
We could designate this situation in our hospital allegory as: psychiatric WARD for the traumatically turbulent. TV may be available for 'cure', thereby running risk of amplifying the cause. Perhaps inmates may venture forth to a government subsidised course in humanities ? Perhaps they will gain a little. However, Professor Bloom notes trends as he sees them, in this area, which is used here merely as an example, and because it is near in some of its generalisations to the area of Christ (a 'hollow' which it often seems to seek to evacuate). Says Dr Bloom- (p.374, The Closing of the American Mind):
A teacher who treated the Bible naively, taking it at its word, or Word, would be accused of scientific incompetence and lack of sophistication. Moreover, he might rock the boat and start the religious wars all over again, as well as a quarrel within the university between reason and revelation, which would upset comfortable arrangements and wind up by being humiliating to the humanities. Here one sees traces of the Enlightenment's political project, which wanted precisely to render the Bible ... undangerous. This project is one of the underlying causes of the impotence of the humanities.Thus the rejection syndrome is re-applied very frequently as a modus operandi in subjects supposedly rational.
Bloom argues that questions of the deepest level are frequently left unattended in a mass of modern coverages, superficial, unhopeful, gravely or lethally dashing to youthful quest and zest in a 'stale, flat and unprofitable' pseudo-scientific emphasis of aspects of situations. These areas and issues in fact contain far greater depth than is accorded them; and the abortive superficiality proceeds in ways that do not even evoke the respect, far less the admiration of the very 'scientific' disciplines, concerned with matter, to which, limpet-like such Humanities subjects often futilely cling.
As Paul puts it (in terms of our verification): "In the last days, perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves... proud, blasphemers... unholy, headstrong... having a form of godliness but denying its power" - II Timothy 3:1-5.
So, imbued with philosophy and intolerance, leaving realities for convenient clusters of cultural philosophy, where irrational presuppositions seem frequently almost de rigueur (and we have instanced this earlier, just as Bloom castigates obsessions of superficiality): man does indeed become proud, headstrong, unholy, despising good. This he does, even to the delightful degree of folly of demanding that only measurable things be real, with a mind that states this in immeasurable terms.
Thus academic, national, political, communicational, traumatic means interact cumulatively, like industrial smog, high in the atmosphere, where the sun compounds and threatens with even worse results. The TWENTIETH CENTURY, how debased is this which is so high, how demeaned, how degenerate, how devilish and vicious, how elevated and how low: man without God, even for 74 years formalised in Russia's grandiose rejection after centuries in which at least the name of Christianity was there...! Man? This is precisely as the Bible depicts him (Romans 1:22 ff., 1 Timothy 6:3-6); and he fits further syndromes as he REJECTS THE REMEDY, than the case was in his merely corrupted state (1 Timothy 4:1-3, II Timothy 4:1-8, II Peter 2:1-17, II Thessalonians 2 - cf. pp.1074-1082 infra.)
As with the killing of famed heart-surgeon, Dr Chang in Australia, when you lay vile hands on a healer, it is a new dimension of madness; but when you so act on your God in His remedy, it is the very smoke of hell. (Cf. Psalm 2, Acts 4:25-26.)
What set the hearts of millions in the clouds of fanciful philosophy, with the prospect of casting aside the 'chains' of Christianity and the restraints of meekness, of helping-the-weak, in exchange for the philosophy of the superman so dear to the heart of the (literally) crazed German philosopher, Nietzsche... that delirious offshoot of the mystic mythology of evolution! The result is simple: it has cast them down. Germany paid supremely for the privilege of evolutionism, Hegel, Nietzsche and Wagner - they helped to prepare the way. Much of the world is also waiting now at the cashier's desk, and more are joining the line.
Delusion has become degeneracy, delight doom (cf. II Thessalonians 2:10, Proverbs 1:20-33). This twentieth century of glory and liberation has become a sub-standard century: not a time of enjoyable naturalness, but of the devilry to which the explicit rejection of God necessarily leads, constantly verifying that man is made, and not man-made; and he inherits what His maker's design and conferment of potentials renders apt.
Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind remains as true as when Hosea wrote it, at the mouth of God. The ethical, moral, cultural and spiritual verification of these things is intense, specific and of an irony for this century of the superman... that makes history a teaching medium par excellence. In particular, the predicted "fearful sights", a sign of Jesus Christ's near return as we saw, are blazoned across the skies by the courtesy of TV, with spectacular and grisly spectacle, as if to lecture man through his own attainments, the more graphically and horrifically, on his follies in forsaking the Lord. To lecture ?
One part of this lecture is the precise verification both intensively and extensively, of this prediction. It fits like a black diamond in a carbon crown, as one of the predicted syndrome of signs to attest the near coming to judge of the Lord Jesus Christ, that only Rock, only reliable One in whom power and purity, precision and faithfulness are shown to be inherent, in perfection. His rejection, the madness of the Jews, is becoming increasingly the mania of the Gentiles, in fulfilment in turn, as we have seen, of the prediction of Paul of a great "falling away", and that of Christ of many false leaders and an avalanche, as it were, of iniquity to attest the progress of a world rejecting His redemption, on the road to judgment. As always, as a matter of experimental fact (and history is the experiment...), whatever the Bible says, whatever the Lord there indicates, whatever the apostles predict, it comes: it is, and it has history as its servant.
The twentieth century ? what has happened to its face! By an irony approaching historical satire, it has become a very distinctive epoch indeed. Not the day of superman, free from Christianity's moral restraints, but according to the plan of the philosopher: rather that of terrorist madmen, on a cultural basis, seeking new ways, killing in the process perhaps 10 million in China, 20 million in Russia, 2 million in Cambodia, with a master torturer, Iraq's Hussein allowed to proceed. This went on to occur, after means were at hand - perhaps within hours - to end the agony soon, in 1991's 100 hour war. Stopped abruptly, it spread to hundreds of thousands of Kurds, incited to revolt, as Time magazine reported at the time, then allowed to fight the mauled and angry Hussein, apparently alone. There are ways of torturing: by fear and flight, by ice-cold mountains and by leaving children without food. This can add to the repertoire of the more... usual methods. Spoiled and devastated, Hussein yet proceeded against the vulnerable Kurds, being still able to proceed. Whatever the intention, the result shrieks to and of man, man forsaking the Lord.
Terrorism has become a profession, slaughter in the city, a modus vivendi. Man experiments and history comments: and behind history is God. Events are commenting as Proverbs 1:20-27 comments - forever unflattering to autonomous man's wisdom. Other ways don't work, they fail, while the Bible's comments are verified, when divine mercy is put aside, is murdered; and with this, failure occurs, with the rigour of natural law. God did not invent sin; but He does not suffer its dominance. As Ecclesiastes 7:29 puts it:
God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.Variations on the scheme of Psalm 2, casting aside the bonds of God and of His Christ, these have continued for nearly 2000 years; and this scheme is 100% a failure. It is failure when it is soft, when it is hard, when it is at Oxford, when it is in Berlin, when it is in music, in art, in literature, in philosophy, in religion. It is like the wrong equation; nothing helps it, and it helps nothing.
Other aspects of what was called the 'terminal madness' of man in this fleeting Age have been considered (e.g. pp. 664-727 supra) in such terms as those of inter-active plagues, while the degeneracy of mores and religion to secular ideology, and thence downward to mere practical pragmatism has also been attested in its place (e.g. 730 ff.). The Prince of this world (John 14:30 ff.), in accord with the prediction of Jesus Christ, is making his presence greatly felt, knowing his time is short (Revelation 12:12).
The sheer vigour and utter virulence of it all is a further verification of the Bible, in its depiction of the state of this evil and ungodly operative cause of what was to come, is coming, is currently visible; and is yet to come (Revelation 12:12, 13:12, II Thessalonians 2:7, Matthew 24:12).
Let us revert to the cyclotron of "fearful sights" in the moral malady of twentieth century man (Luke 21:11). In the case of Vietnam (where Communist take-over in the end made the domino theory of surrounding nations falling look pleasant compared with the reality to come), the media seemed intent on considering the agonies of war, rather than the greater agonies in greater numbers of failures. It is not a question of the war as such, but of perspectives. Horror film is topical, typical; but it seems often less available where repressive regimes perform their horrors by the million, without inviting newsmen to be witnesses. Thus totalitarianism is helped to wear the mask of morality. Ghastly and ghoulish views are apportioned us from the era of Jonesville in Africa.
Moreover, even where the exposure is justified, the sights remain fearful and many, as predicted. Thus Solzhenitsyn in his Gulag Archipelago, well circumnavigated by his pen, gives many portrayals of fearful things whilst fearful sights are provided without camera. More literal 'sights' have however appeared in the film version of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, where scenes are supplied for the scenario.
We need not labour the point. It is clear the prediction is distinctively fulfilled. One drably humorous point may be added, however. The author knew an artist who painted angels and sought to depict glory. To a Higher Education unit she went, to learn 'Art'; but there, she was asked to paint unemployment, and... from memory, a rubbish collection. It is not a matter of due regard to realism and versatility of style: there is both in English and in art a trend to the deplorable, as a sort of 'culture shock' exposure to what really matters.
Perverse practices with ponies were featured in a junior secondary reading list. Predilection for horrible sights and fearful things is becoming the pathological projection of a society which seems never able to have enough of things evil, morbid and unnatural, sometimes cynically conditioning themselves and their young to the external correlatives of the inward state of their unrepentant hearts.
These hearts in turn cry out for just judgments, which in due course appear as fearful sights, soon to enter the vicious circle once again. This is the era of fearful sights, partly through fearful, or malignant hearts filling themselves with the arid, the depraved and the degenerate; and partly is it so through the fearful deeds themselves. The means of depiction may indeed serve popular desire, with wide availability; and may dynamise derelict desires. In case some might too readily escape, Bloom's unvisionary academic world - as he depicts and deplores it - is frequently ready to meet with the budding academic and to sear his soul or dull his mind. It is not all so, of course; but the trends are profound; and they are predicted; and they are being fulfilled. That is here the point: verification.
How distinctive these things are is perhaps lost sight of through habituation, so let us contrast all this with the Biblical requirement, in order to feature the point, to focus it. Let us hear Paul:
Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).From this we turn to
Has it happened ? Muhammad was an earlier false Christ of massive, even prodigious results. Naming Christ sinless, he gave himself nevertheless an authoritative currency as God's man-on-the-spot, and proceeded to invest Christ with, and to divest Christ of such properties as seemed good to him, taming Him into just a prophet (keen type though), and making biographical additions about 600 years after the time for primary documents! It was not a distinguished effort, had no rational grounds for belief, did not agree with the Old Testament which preceded it by thousands of years, did not cover the rational need for a redemptive statement that we have earlier noted, used violence to procure belief, so as to make freedom meaningless, so implicating God, in so far as his Allah was supposed to relate to God. Much of which we have seen. Our point here is simply this: Muhammad was to be 'nice' to Christ and to supplant Him. Thus he acted instead of Christ, and that is what a false Christ does.
With hundreds of millions of devotees, Muhammad has done Christ this one service: he has figured in a spectacular way in fulfilling Christ's prediction (Matthew 25:5,11, John 16:2). God is reasonable and invites us to reason (Isaiah 1:18, 43:8-10), and the surrender of reason in order to 'believe' is like surrendering the steering on a car, in order to make a quick trip. Such speed may be lethal, and is ill-advised. The Bible however quietly predicts what happens, with a large category for false Christs and false prophets modelled in advance of the action. God is not indifferent to the honest recognition of His word, and has gone to immense pains to contra-distinguish it majestically from all pretence.
Hardly less spectacular for predictive fulfilment of the Bible, is that body - or indeed that series of persons - who sacrifice Christ at their say-so (despite John 10:17-18, Hebrews 9:14,26-28, John 19:30), use His forgiveness at their say-so (despite Matthew 11:26-28) and require worship of bread which is bread indeed (fulfilling Matthew 24:26): for as to Christ, He is in heaven (Acts 3:19-21) and statedly plans to remain there till the great consummation of all things to come so dramatically, in its time (Matthew 24:30 ff., 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff., I Corinthians 15:50 ff.). That is not yet.
Further, as one of the martyrs noted in Foxe's illustrious Book of Martyrs pointed out: If Christ had meant to be taken literally about the piece of bread - "This is mybody" - then He would have been committing suicide, when He broke the bread. He was a true man (Hebrews 2:14, 4:15) and true men have but one body, and this broken, will no longer work. My words, He said of this 'eating' are spirit, and they are life, and what if the Son of man goes back to heaven (John 6:53,62-63) ?
What indeed! So the Romanists offer bread for worship, in 'Mass', and that of course is idolatry; and the one who thus substitutes for Christ is by definition, a false Christ. Newspaper advertisements at great expense in recent years have also announced another Lord who was to manifest himself with great powers to all the world... the idea was there, and supposedly the person. The manifestation was not; yet here again is another to supplant Christ.
Mao with his little book; Stalin with his plans to subdue Nature, and control law, now the 'class struggle' was 'over': both took prerogatives of Christ who knew how to do it, and had a book which worked better than to make sacrificial victims of various ideas and ideals, including the idea that one is not God, and should not seek to imitate His person.
Even the goddess of freedom may be an American invention in the area. How beautifully, it may have seemed, the U.S. Constitution wove in freedom and God; but where has it gone ? How can prayers be excluded from schools that want them? What is the freedom which excludes; and what are the 'rights' that silence, and ensure that in schools, courts of the land will strive to prevent even the teaching of creation!
Is this not a freedom which transcends God, and makes of itself the Messiah of deliverance from bondage for the masses... liberating and ennobling with a nothingness, which only debased philosophies may invade, on the ground that they are so culturally normative: or with the myth that they have no ideological additives. As to that, a reference to Section 2 (supra) may help. Violating scientific method, asserting the invisible which bears no evidence to being subject to prediction, declaring laws for which no exposition in observable activity is discernible, violating laws the results of which are constantly observable: they attribute our origin to a system which has its own ways, its own mythical formulae and is fathered by its own philosophy. Meanwhile, it is at war with fact.
This folk religion of evolution, the chance-man's 'God', deriving law from its absence: the biological equivalent of the abuse of the dole, wanting something for nothing, is being propagated by law, as indeed in S.A. in my own country. (Cf. pp. 88-97, 109-110, 151, 228-234 ff.; also Davies, pp. 422C,V-W - supra.) This 'Messiah' who performs no miracles, makes no predictions, rises to satisfy no persons from the tomb of impossibility of any kind, is heralded by no identikit, leads to a twentieth century of delusion about the progressive power of violence and self-assertion (which quite expectedly is taught as morals) - this evolution is itself, a false Christ.
It takes into itself the prerogatives of creation of man, propulsion of life, service of man, meaning for man - whatever meaningless symbol be its 'measure', and vision for the future. This impotent god who creates nothing before our long-suffering eyes, and pleads he has not the time, is substituted for the saviour!
Not merely in the overt acts of war and civil strife, broken homes and child abuse, then do we see the 'moral' predictions with which scripture abounds, but in this debilitating devilry whereby children, to be pitied as any in the industrial revolution labouring underground, are force-fed philosophy. In science in S.A., so profound is the unmitigated indoctrination, that for creation, there is no scope for discussion in science; nor is there room outside it, except in a subjectivised religion, exploding from the bureaucratic brain of the Education Department, with comparatively low marks for originality, and absolutely none for rationality!
To these mental manacles and spiritual bonds do many children go, at taxpayers' expense, denizens of the deep, dwelling in darkness, talking science and avoiding its method. And the Bible ? It is avoided like bubonic plague, for reasons perhaps not unlike those noted by Bloom; but perhaps not less because the ignorance of it is becoming so profound, that it would be an embarrassment to teach it. Statism is one more false Messiah, seeking avidly for the mind and spirit of youth.
It has of course its spurious and illusory advantages, reason being not one. Thus as C.S. Lewis points out in his Mere Christianity (p. 34):
One reason why many people find Creative Evolution so attractive is that it gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has ever seen ?This becomes a 'Saviour' that is fun indeed. The results, however, this century (*1) have not been fun. Nietzsche's devotion to his superman-by-strife (no intimate for dictators in practice, though often in theory!), has been visible only by contradiction in the results. The proud Germany that spawned the philosophy of the superman - Hitler being so thrilled with it all as well - long lay, itself, in a humiliating division; while now it is paying a massive price as it cleans up the superior consequences, in the garrotted East Germany.
Such a saviour in fact is merely verbal. As Lewis says: 'People who hold this view say that... life... "evolved"... not due to chance but to the "striving" or "purposiveness" of a Life Force. When people say this we must ask them whether by Life-Force they mean something with a mind or not. If they do, then "a mind bringing life into existence and leading it to perfection": is really a God, and their view is thus identical with the Religious. If they do not, then what is the sense in saying that something without a mind "strives" or "has purposes" ?'
While only some evolutionists show the courtesy in talking about 'nature solving this problem' and so on, of explicitly expressing faith in a Life-Force, even where some do, it is subject to the disintegrating dissection to which Professor Lewis justly subjects it. As we saw in the end of Chapter 2 (pp. 179 ff. supra) moreover, the God who is this illusory 'life-force' is a precise contradiction of Jesus Christ in method and morals. It is indeed a false Christ, and that is all it is our concern here to show.
However the teaching which seeks to combine Christ with this, is false teaching for precisely the reason of the demonstrated contradiction, not merely of facts, but of scripture. Hence the many exponents who present it, the more especially but not exclusively in a religious setting, are to that extent false teachers; and their name is legion. Could they be counted ? No doubt by divine means. Like the Black Death, it spreads. It is a judgment and it produces more judgment (Colossians 2:7-8, II Peter 3:1-5). This is not to say those who present theories for rational inspection, are so; it is to say that those who preclude rational discussion and push theories in the face of facts are so; and in the precise scriptural sense, once in the church, they fully justify such a negative 'accreditation', for so abusing the body of Christ (Colossians 2:4,8, Titus 2:10). Assuredly it is Biblically false teaching. That is simply one more false Christ, parading with the pomp of political power, discriminatory, suppressive, fraudulent, subverting education, afflicting the race, and with magnificent irony, exalting man as it destroys him.
There is another prophecy which bears on the case - not just wilful denial of creation by the Word of God, which II Peter 3 specifically predicted and our evolutionary teachers are marvellously fulfilling. It is this: that prophecy found in II Thessalonians 2:3-12. Here a falling away from orthodox Christianity is specifically predicted, and it is to be a great one. The reason lies in the dynamic 'working' of the 'mystery of iniquity', to be headed in the end by the 'lawless' one (apt name that- chance is lawless).
The "man of sin" is to be revealed (v.3), who is to declare quite frankly and directly, that he is God. What one almost likes about this, is the forthrightness. For how long have men sought to demote or derogate God in the scriptures, re-writing them like Bultmann, psycho-analysing for reconstruction of the Lord, without the benefit of documentation - those thousands of years intervening, notwithstanding. If as C.S. Lewis points out, people have routinely failed in literary psychoanalysis of his purposes and background in writing contemporary work, how wonderful to expect to do far better (with, that is, any likelihood of success) in so distant a culture; but how much worse, one would add, when the butt of it all is Jesus Christ.
Reconstructed Christs ? This, Tillich boldly attempts, in terms of a basically impersonal 'god'... who therefore could scarcely have helped him in his impossible process of accounting for a factually emphatic religion, in contra-factual ways! Drably dabbling in impersonal grounds, as far as God is concerned, he seeks to account for the most colourful character in history, while breaking rationality in good pursuit of the illogicities of Immanuel Kant, finding from the incommunicative abyss so much, that we are regaled by the sheer virtuosity of the entire, literally fabulous undertaking. He too fulfils Christ's prediction of false Christs in the inner room, or perhaps here, in the ivory tower. There would be a significant cost of production, too; but then, these modern hand-made Christs are popular... again, exactly as predicted (II Peter 2).
Christs hand-made, man-made: gods from man ? There was one Albert Schweitzer, who wanted to have Christ looking passionately and sincerely for a kingdom which, alas, never came (*2). Aghast, this particular novelist's Christ was to seek to lay "hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which must bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and He throws Himself upon it. Then it does turn; and crushes Him."
This manufactured (and hence false Christ) is the product (*3) of an author (and here therefore a false teacher) who, like Bultmann produces his contra-factual religious poem, with the verve and impact of a prophet. He is telling us, and hence is a false prophet. This delusive caricature (*4) of Christ is the product of extreme reaction to the weak, 'principles of the kingdom' type of teacher-Christ, who had been manufactured so often before, during various waves of antisupernaturalism.
Christ, says Schweitzer with profound truth at this point, saw and greatly emphasised the eschatological, the designed destiny in history; and it is impossible to have any coherent Christ at all, if you remove this element, he adds. True. That would counter Ritschl, of the last century, with his preferred Christ on humbler lines, in a more naturalistic setting. Unfortunately it ignores all that we have shown in our Old Testament studies on the necessity of the Messiah's dying and rising and later being king after many years, in which the Jews would languish, years in which indeed nation would rise against nation...
Even then, as Christ said, 'the end is not yet' (Matthew 24:6). But it is one more marvellous fulfilment of prophecy; as indeed are all the false prophets who attack the Bible, remove God from knowability like Barth (merely evacuating Christ from His role of God manifest in the flesh), and making one more docile, teachable god. For if God cannot teach you by His clear propositions in which His personal values and details and facts inhere, then you are as free as if you had your own life-force on a philosophic leash. Nice try, but not really related to the Bible at all... rather, just one more novel creation of a Christ who did not bother to come by the virgin Mary, or to be smashed in the process of delivering (Matthew 7:21-39) propositions so ruthlessly real, that they can smash the folly that seeks to bypass them.
One more must suffice. There is Altizer who, by one more miracle from a 'god' who doesn't seem particularly accessible (in fact declared dead on arrival, as in one sense is the Barth type), can even give us his Gospel of Christian Atheism. This allows him indeed to dispense with the very form of God, whilst speaking in the face of an ostensible divine demise, with surprising oracular authority, considering the case. In all these things, R.C. or more recent cases, just noted: a dead, defunct or bypassed (so 'absolutely other' as Barth enshrines him so very innocuously) deity is the convenient mode of operation. It is useful for those who have no basis of their own, but use Christ's name for their imaginings.
What Christ is, and had to be for acceptance, however, is precisely what we have seen the Old Testament required, in its extensive and intimate identikit. No other really meets the case but the Christ of the contemporary records; and this one meets all of it in all respects: whether of prophecy fulfilled at the time or made then for later; by all tests, records and reason. The monstrous absurdity of combining in title, the name of Christ whose claim to deity is integral with His mission, commission and conduct Biblically, in the whole basis in both Testaments, with the demise (philosophic, cultural or other) of that Father whom He depicted - the parallel in politics of 'Marxist capitalism' - makes clear that fantasy is unreined, creation is not here within the womb of woman, but that of ideas.
Such a Christ is a chameleon of men's minds, a fabrication of His heart and a plagiarism of His performance, in unchartered unhistorical seas, on an ocean bed where every particle both of reason and evidence leaves only a bottomless pit for 'navigation'. Consult pp. 109, 305 supra for further consideration of men creating God. That is what this is, and it is by nature impossible as shown; for not only is tele-psychoanalysis of the infinite creator beyond man, but tele-plastic surgery of His personality is also systematically and for the same reasons, impossible.
All that is left is a series of false Christs, false prophets and a myriad of false teachers making this century a marvel of profusion; and we must not here forget the sects... profusely adding to battalions (*11) of Biblically predicted and Biblically defined, 'false Christs'. Is it not a magnificent century! The fulfilment of Christ's predictions about Christs and false prophets, and Peter's about false teachers like false prophets in the Old Testament is a service performed by all these renegades and philosophic oddments. And that is the point of our present investigation.
Although necessarily short in a work of this specialised scope, it is sufficient to demonstrate that the 'last time' fulfilment of these prophecies is quite as spectacular as is the later history of Israel in our time, and that of Jerusalem. (Hosea 9:7-8 - cf. Jeremiah 23:23-29 - declares: ''the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is insane'' though the watchman still walks with God.) There is an exotic lavishness about the fulfilment... If this happened in a science laboratory, we might well say - 'Well that teacher really knew what he was talking about.' It is so. It is God who is doing so; and He is verified in His word to the ultimate degree.
But II Thessalonians 2:4-12 ? What of the heading up of sin yet to come, when one of them actually takes the creation of new Christs to the point of someone appointing himself God... Many will believe him because "they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie." (Cf. pp. 200-201 supra, 382-385 infra, for the directional fulfilment now visible here.) That explains the otherwise completely inexplicable. How could people believe such irrational fantasies in areas of the most solemn significance for the welfare of their whole lives and, instituting an entire divorce from logic, marry a mirage ? It is because God acts in judgment when He deems the time ripe, that they "should believe the lie" through "active delusion". The numerous sects merely illustrate the whole point to perfection.
The Russian party, seeing its disastrous agricultural record, and the state (such as was roundly exposed in the October 1989 Readers Digest) of communal indigestion, collective dyspepsia and productive depression; seeing the financial plight facing a nation with such necessary imports, such as the agricultural, but not these alone (being equal first in the arms race is not something coming cheaply)... has an idea. What might this idea be ?
i) Make Poland and other eastern bloc Communist nations take up less money. Do this by distancing Russia from them, and letting the well-bled residues pick up mercy money from the West. This will weaken the West and disentangle 'mother' Russia (and what a child abuser this mother has been!). In this way, financial and political pressure will decrease, and Russia herself can make some headway with less embarrassment. To achieve this, the morsel must be tempting; and so these eastern bloc countries must become more democratic. They are like grown children, too expensive to support, though they have served the 'farm' well, while growing. In the general goodwill produced, this would even help that blind folly of the West, in increasing good terms of trade, preferential treatment (though who could say why ?) or even loans or relaxed technology bans... all very 'positive'.
The possible scenario continues.
If Russia, in this way makes a little more headway, and heads off some of its internal problems arising from dissidents, too well supplied with moral and material facts: then it might be opportune relative to Western money, to launch the attack which would make its repayment unnecessary. Added benefit: the intervening relaxation internationally might have two important likely results.
What are these ? First, the West may diminish, even if slightly, its own arms; more important, more indulgences may be sought by some of the allied nations, on behalf of Russia or the Commonwealth of Independent States, so making for stress, tension and less co-operation amongst some of its creditors/erstwhile enemies, while putting a bigger economic burden on the rest. Second, it takes the war situation out of the unpleasant condition of being an emergency (while economic matters go into near chaos), and puts it in the 'do when convenient' box, so much more likely to be... productive.
This would fit the Biblical picture in general atmosphere:
When they shall say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.This refers to the coming day of the Lord; but it has components, and this could be one of them. (I Thessalonians 2:1-3).
ii) The case i) above may simply be a part. Gorbachev may be either a front man willingly playing the part of preparing the ground for one particular interpretation of events, by giving it, as it were, a mouth; or he may be a puppet for a scenario in which he is calculatingly to be displaced (*6) when he has played his part and other.... thoughts need amplification. He may be knowing or not; strategically participant or not. The result would be strategically similar, unless any demise planned for him secured a dangerous negative response.
In this case, the economic and political aspects would have added a propaganda element, in a way, a new version of Dr Goebbels' efforts.
Again, these things may have come from non-strategic and merely urgent needs; but the strategic considerations may have 'grown' like Topsy, as the other events proved more than helpful, but rather more dominating. In other words, that could be a case of need followed by greed.
Whilst the possibilities are numerous and more than these, it is important to realise that some at least of the powerful Russian political mafia may decide to do better for their futures than Ceasceau did for his. For people with their stated principles, if you could call them that, this would hardly be surprising. [Events since the time of writing show that such a group did apparently strike - and very nearly succeeded. They may strike again, at Yeltsin, or a similar group may do so - conceivably at what he has built up as the new President of Russia, at his demise, or should health dwindle. Nor is the mass of money from the West without value; nor does liberty guarantee... goodness! nor, even now, is Gorbachev dead...]
Even if the case is a chameleon of considerations, with power and pressure groups waiting for their opportunity, a pragmatic manipulation of events, with Gorbachev, or a successor in whatever capacity, as the chief Western money raiser: there may be those with plans not unlike the above, which will be adapted as various players move this way and that. To some, enormous economic needs plus plentiful military hardware, in this or that sovereign State, may suggest ... simple and venturesome solutions.
If then an attack is launched on the Middle East with a Communist-Arab blast (*6), in the immediate vicinity of Israel, and with understandably pleasing proximity to oil fields, whilst putting that land-based, space-station, Israel, out of action for the West, what would be the political preliminaries ?
2. The political implications of such an approach as the above, more especially in terms of the possible practical ramifications, could be of great prophetic interest. Thus, as this process - for it would be a process - continued over time, there could be induced a pseudo-euphoric sleep in part of the West ('it all helps', those interested might say). This could reduce ideological tension and resistance, and make it ever so much easier for those false prophets of kindly collectivism, whose objects for study have been so utterly and disreputably contrary to theory (and that has been bad enough)! Bad as the theory is, however, the practice has been so much worse that one Australian College (tertiary) blandly announced that there must be clear distinction between the ideas and the examples, between the prescriptions of Marx and the performance of his disciples. Such is not science; for 'scientific' socialism should have no such problems!
Thus a welcome relief from a quite impossible propaganda situation, for many loyalists to left-wing absolutism, as in Russia, could be provided by the changing perceptions induced by the scenarios noted - more or less, depending on the case chosen. Any relief could help; for granted many want to be duped, being possibly unconsciously motivated by the 'need' for a human god, in the dismissal from their lives of the reliable, the real and only God: this political absolutism of Marx is still an increasingly difficult 'sell', with so much evidence of fleeing beneficiaries of totalitarian communism, and non-fleeing victims of free-enterprise 'oppression'. The facts are - well, inconvenient; and something needs to change, to keep the loyalists in spirit (if you can call it that, but we shall do so).
From this in turn, in universities already invested, if not infested in many cases, with an acutely disproportionate radical culture, or cultus as it might better be termed, there could come relief and greater recruitment. This in its turn could lead to more radical, anti-free-enterprise academics in due course, and in general keep the weakening of the social fabric of the West in better progress, or regress, to be more mathematically exact.
The concept of a rapprochement, of a giving and taking, of a compromise might gain ground. A frankly discredited communism might thus serve as a base or basis for something which, though divergent, could conserve some of the most welcome aspects for power lovers and man-manipulators. (If indeed Russian dictators have not excelled in these features, who has ? Has not history few to excel the murderous freedom and the tyrannical liberties of the 'party' with its pecking powers, suitably increased by such trifles as the atomic bomb ?)
Thus a 'new Age' (*12), a 'new deal', a 'new approach', a 'new look', with perhaps a little spice from Oriental mysticism, to allow more confused thinking and accelerate human despotism under new combinations of forces less acutely and plainly materialist: this might 'arise'. With such a mechanism, or 'organism' of a social kind, surely leadership would be required ? Why, has not Communism itself shown the need for brilliant thinking to replace the soggy (agricultural ?) mess of mere collectivism ? While perhaps abandoning the concept of thoughts mysteriously transmitting themselves into the minds of the ruling élite from the oppressed multitudes (almost: as if 'squeezed' out of them), the new élite might manipulate with the idea or the 'people personality', the 'impersonation of the people', or even with a now antiquated but perhaps revivable reference to Hegel (incognito of course), the 'fulfilment of the people', or better the 'historical flowering of the people', or the 'personal expression of people power' or of its consummation; or anyway, that leader, which as Spaak proposed, be he god or devil, will move the masses where it is opportune for them to... go.
This would be a congenial atmosphere for antichrist breeding, and some bulb might in such a soil of 'cultural conditioning', manage to grow. One such would... Biblically... be enough.
Whether or not Communism, already degraded, be further disgraced, the potential for these forces to work, for efforts at reconstruction, forcible or other, or with mere impact on other European systems, remains.
Page 851 continued in the next section