We are investigating the human, observable factors in our nation’s journey from its Reformation foundation to where we find ourselves today at the beginning of the 21st century. We have seen that the Enlightenment introduced a renewal of fallen man’s eternal attempt to “be like God, knowing (determining for himself) good and evil” (Genesis 3:5), i.e., be his own god, the very definition of Humanism.
This included discovering a way to free himself from the Reformation idea of the necessity of salvation for personal sin, by Jesus, by the cross, by faith alone. However, it was necessary to keep a god around somewhere, because, at that time, there was no other recognized, believable, and readily acceptable way to explain creation. He just couldn’t be a god who holds anyone accountable for anything. So, Enlightenment thinkers manufactured a god who created the world and then conveniently checked out, leaving man to be what he wanted to be all along—his own god, making his own rules. They called this new religion “Deism,” the forebear of today’s Unitarianism.
Enter Charles Darwin and his book, The Origin of the Species, published in 1859, and the rest is history. In evolution, Darwin gave man exactly what he needed—a way to more easily rationalize away God altogether. Now, we reasoned, we no longer even need a creator god. Many breathed a huge sigh of relief.
However, not all. Most Christians saw evolution for what it was: Humanism, another religion to entice man to reject his accountability to God and His provision for our sin. They knew that God’s word and science cannot be contradictory, but they did not yet understand how the geological evidence and biblical accounts of a creation and a young earth were in no way contradictory (that came 100 years later with the publication of The Genesis Flood in 1961).
So, many earnest, Bible-believing scholars did their best to reconcile the then-current geological science with the Bible by some sort of Theistic Evolution. It was tough duty in the marketplace of ideas. Evolutionists had smelled blood and any god, other than the irrelevant, absentee, deistic one was now unacceptable in public discourse.
Armed with Darwin’s new “evidence,” evolutionists were now extremely vocal, aggressive, and committed to their new version of the ancient religion of Humanism, much as are the climate-change advocates of the same religion today. Evolution carried the day in academia almost immediately, not only as it applies to biology and creation, but in all other disciplines as well. Evolving truth is in; absolute, unchanging truth is out.
In America, the Constitution and the biblical law upon which much of it is based, had been the foundation of human government. With the advent of evolutionary thought, the Constitution now became a “living document,” no longer seen as absolute law by which we govern our land. It became an unspoken impediment to “needed social change,” opening the door for Supreme Court decisions such as Roe vs. Wade in 1973, legalizing abortion. This decision, admittedly, even by the justices who devised it, was not based on the Constitution at all, but on a phantom constitutional “penumbra,” allowing us to legally murder our babies, over 60 million since 1973. The religion of Humanism, with its evolutionary doctrine now firmly in place, was on the march.
Now that we are on our own as our own god, without the fences of the law of God and the Constitution to govern us, what governmental form will that take? How will we organize, maintain order, and keep us from killing ourselves? Coinciding with evolution’s advent was another significant movement in Europe that would form leg #2 on our stool.
In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto, and Humanism found the civil government for which it was searching. In Communism, man himself, (corporate man, the state) was the all-powerful god who made all decisions and solved all problems. Marx himself was ambivalent about religion, famously calling it the “opiate of the people,” but as Marxism was applied, first by Vladimir Lenin in the Soviet Union and later by Mao Tse Tung in China, religion was outlawed and the government was officially atheistic.
So, man eliminated an active, involved God from the public square by evolution and installed himself, corporate, sinful man, as God—expressed through the ever-growing, ever more comprehensive state. As a nation ignores God’s absolute truth and its freedom inevitably declines, its new god, the state, always moves toward total control of its people by attempting to accrue to itself omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience—the characteristics of God! Because of the digital, surveillance age, Big Brother today has the power to do just that.
If truth, as Jesus said, will set you free, then the lie that the state can take God’s place will put you in bondage. For the past 100 years (and the seeds were planted even much earlier), America has been slowly and surreptitiously traveling the road that leads to this end.
This brings to mind several important questions.
Why have God’s Bible-believing people allowed this to happen? Where were we while the first two legs of the stool upon which America sits today, evolution and socialism (pre-Marxism), were being firmly put in place? Why have we not sounded the alarm as the national Christian consensus we had at our founding was being stolen? Was the decline inevitable? Is there nothing the church could have done to keep this from happening?
The answers to these questions are theological in nature, as are all of life’s questions. Determining who God is, who I am, and how God relates to me is the very essence of all theology. An incomplete and faulty understanding and application of theology is the surprising third leg of our stool upon which America sits today. That is next week’s posting.