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Where History Begins & Ends


I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will display at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

-       1 Timothy 6:13-16

 

We’re continuing along the same theme we’ve been following for the last several blogs, meaning we are comparing Christian faith and life to materialist atheism and/or secular humanism. The naturalistic and godless view of universal and individual existence saturates our society, so much so that we find it throughout the church as well. It’s unavoidable and in everything we see and hear, including our history. Short of some amazing archeological find or the recovery of some heretofore unknown document, history seemed pretty set to me. ‘Good, bad, or indifferent, here is what happened.’ Apparently, I lacked imagination.

 

Revising history to serve self-interest or “tribal” interest is commonplace now. Facts aren’t nearly as important as wishes, which makes space for a great deal of ignorance. Think, for example, of the displays of the Nazi swastika in the Palestinian and campus protests against Israel. Even a basic knowledge of recent history – say, the last one-hundred years – would advise against associating with Naziism. Hitler wanted an Arian race, which necessarily excludes the entire Middle East not the Jews alone. The enemy of our enemy is our friend did not apply.

 

Speaking of utterly delusional alliances, we don’t even need to appeal to history to point out that there is no solidarity of identity between Middle Eastern peoples and the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ is not allowed, or rather, I should say LGB. Not long ago, I read someplace that the largest sex-change facility in the world was/is located in Iran. Since homosexuality is illegal there, lesbians and gays are allowed to change their sex. Protesting against Israel by blocking traffic, trashing universities, harassing and beating Jews, or dangerously polarizing public voices and spaces may be superficially useful to the anti-Israel Palestinians in America, but our college-aged crowd appear wholly unaware of what happens to homosexuals in the countries with whom they have been protesting. The State of Palestine puts them to death, as does Iran (or they are transitioned), Syria, Saudi Arabia, and more. Islam will not tolerate homosexuality.

 

Just a little accurate knowledge of history undermines the narcissism of our youth. I know that my views could earn me the title of xenophobe or racist or some other popular accusation, but sticks and stones and all that… I prefer the title of realist and strongly encourage others to join that cause. Again, just a bit of factual historical awareness would suggest a modicum of caution in the thoughtless pursuit international unity and goodwill. All the other nations in the world do not believe each individual gets to assign his/her own identity and meaning, nor do they have any patience with the gender confusion we promote everywhere.

 

If objective history (as opposed to subjective revision of history) were taught to our precious little darlin’s, the demise of Western civilization in general and America in particular wouldn’t hold nearly the appeal for all these free-thinking university Marxists-in-making. I’m not building a case for how glorious Western civilization is, but before we throw it over the cliff, we might ought to consider the alternatives. A good place to start is history. Everybody is so busy finding fault with America’s history that they haven’t thought through what might have happened without America.

 

As Victor Davis Hanson points out, there was one native American for every two-hundred square miles in North America. At the time, Europe had around 200 people for every one square mile. Other nations such as China or Russia or Japan were exploring and looking for land and wealth. Somebody was going to come for the land, and the indigenous tribes were never going to be able to hold it. As unfair and flawed as western expansion was in the nineteenth century, indigenous people fared much better under Europeans who had some sense of contractual obligation under the law and Christian evangelistic zeal. The good and bad of it can be weighed in personal flaws, but good and bad can also be weighed in a realistic “what if…?” Had China sought expansion in this land, the indigenous population would have been killed, since slavery was rapidly falling out of favor in the northeastern United States. Reservations were a sorry consolation, but they were better than the other likely alternatives. With the abundance of open land and natural resources, the one thing native peoples were not going to do was keep the land undisturbed by the rest of the world.

 

I could go on because history is littered with examples of “man’s inhumanity to man.” On an aside but fortuitous tangent, I mistakenly thought that phrase originated with Viktor Frankl. My little AI friend Leo, which summarizes search results, attributes the phrase to the eighteenth-century Scottish poet, Robert Burns, and goes on to explain that (and I quote), “Throughout history, there have been numerous examples of man’s inhumanity to man. The Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East are just a few examples of the devastating consequences of human cruelty. These events serve as a reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and understanding in our relationships with one another.” That, right there, is an example of what’s wrong with AGI, which illustrates what’s wrong with the mindset of our milieu.

 

If the human race exhibited such capacities as empathy, compassion, and understanding, there wouldn’t be cruelty to and inhumane treatment of one another. Logic dictates that, if there is cruelty toward one another and inhumane treatment among peoples throughout history, then suggesting the solution is use of the qualities we know but have not exhibited in the past is probably not really a solution for today. Witness the war between Russia and The Ukraine, for example. The two populations are practically all extended family, but in this war tens of thousands of men have died and hundreds of thousands more wounded (women being proscripted from Russian service and minimally allowed on the front lines of The Ukrainian military).

 

This brings me full circle to where I started. Without Christianity, human history is a long and dark account of “man’s inhumanity to man.” To the extent that Christianity has compromised with the culture in which it is being lived, Christian history also exhibits a comparable tendency to harm. We human beings are a short-sighted and sinful lot. Such being the case, in spite of obvious platitudes such as appeared in the AI summary, empathy, compassion, and understanding will not prevail. They haven’t surfaced historically, and there is no reason to think such qualities will spring forth suddenly now.

 

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis famously wrote, “All that we call human history--money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery--[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy." The only manner in which to convince later generations that Christianity is the problem not the solution is to lie about history and then to lie about Christianity as well. Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe it’s just an issue of ignorance. So few accurate facts are known, and ideological falsehoods have been repeated for so long that many of us cannot hear what is true.

 

At last, we reach the point I want to make about Christian history in the context of human history. Actually, the point I want to make is about human history in the context of Christianity. The idea that history is progressing toward some future state or destined end is a profoundly Christian perspective. Whatever we may think of it and however we imagine it may come to pass, the promise is that Jesus Christ shall return, that He shall reign over the earth, and His rule shall have no end. Toward this final state of being – an eternal Kingdom we cannot fathom – all of human history is aimed. In the Ascension of Christ, this ultimate conclusion is, if not seen, then revealed. His human Body rose to a place or state that is hidden from our eyes, but for which we yearn.

 

The longing has arisen in every historical epoch and among every nation and tribe that has ever existed. Atheism has to be taught, but the certainty of Divine existence has always been known. The dream of that which is beyond our sight is the universal longing to return home, to become again what we once were but no longer know or even remember. As the prodigal left his home and went out into the world to seek his fortune, so also did the human race leave our home with our Father, our Creator.

 

The account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 is the account of our homeland, the place for which we were created, the place where we belong and is as inaccessible to us as the Kingdom to which Christ ascended. Indeed, they are the same with the exception of the presence of the transfigured and glorified Human Being. These are the bookends of the human history – the beginning and the end that are the birth and conclusion of the cosmos. These also mark the origin of human life and its destiny. In between, lives are lived under the burden of sin and the certainty of death. Until the Son of God became incarnate… Until Christ was crucified by our sin and for our salvation… Until Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven… That is the hinge of history that swings the trajectory of humanity and creation from inevitable death toward abundant and eternal life.

 

What we see is not the measure of what is, and the events of history reflect a world lost from its own homeland, warring with one another in hopes of finding an elusive pathway to life in any manner except through Jesus Christ. Enough power, enough authority, enough riches, enough will never be enough and cannot come to fulfillment, for the problem of this world is not a lack of compassion or empathy, but a lack of humility before God and an excess of blind pride in human potential.

 

So, when we assess our circumstances, as communities or nations, there is the way of Christian obedience, and there is the way of the world. Progressivism is the opposite of Christian progress. To move toward an undefined utopia of an individual’s preference means moving away from the salvation God planned before time began.

 

As I write this, it is July Fourth. The flags are waving, hot dogs cooking, while flags burn and the vitriol continues to escalate. The majority of American Christians are praying that Christ will save our nation and return us to the Protestant work ethic, decency, and civility. I fear we are asking the wrong question when we pray. The question isn’t ‘if Jesus Christ will save our nation,’ but ‘will our nation turn to serve and to glorify Jesus Christ?’

 

Christ is God. He can do anything He wants. But why would He save us to be consumers tied to physical existence and enamored with our limited state of knowledge. We believe machines hold the promise of the future. We think security comes in health systems and retirement funds, not in Divine provision. We no longer even pretend to weigh the merits of biblical sexual morality, nor do we understand the purpose and necessity of male and female. We want the ease of material gain with the blessing of God. We remained silent and allowed our children to learn selfishness as virtue. We assumed being a good American going to church on Sunday was enough to be a good Christian, and we were wrong.

 

Human history continues to unfold, and it is always progressing. How we live and how we encourage others, what we believe and what we teach, all influence other’s progress toward Christ and life or progress toward hell and death. The church in America needs to purge the perversion and pollution of the pride that is leading to the disintegration of our nation. (Hat tip to Neil Plantinga.) As in the days of old, we need to gather and repent of the ways in which we pay lip service to God while worshiping idols rather than love God because He is God and serve Him because that is the pathway to life.

 

Our God can do mighty things among us still. Great things are in store in Him, for nothing is impossible for God. He is sovereign over all that is seen and unseen. He has created all that is and created us to dwell with Him in unapproachable, uncreated Light. We live between His creation and His restoration. History belongs to our Christ our God, and ultimately, He will prevail and be revealed as King of kings and Lord of lords. Orienting our lives towards Him means leaving behind a mediocre faith for comfort in the moment and entering into the mystery of God’s unfolding salvation in and through human history.

 

If we do so, God will work wonders through us, and we will see His Kingdom unfold among us.

 

In Christ –

 

Rev. Elizabeth Moreau

© 2024

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