Devolution

It was legendary writer GK Chesterton who observed that the doctrine of original sin is “the only part of Christian theology which can be really proved.”

A casual glance at newspapers, news sites etc. will bear out the fact that human beings, despite technological advances and other such things, continue to demonstrate their ability to cause each other great harm.

In his book, The Battle for the Beginning, John MacArthur refers to the human condition as a devolution. I’ve heard it said that humanity is the way it is because we haven’t gotten there yet, we aren’t sufficiently evolved.

Some even say the animals are farther along because they don’t hurt each other to the degree we hurt ourselves (the fact that a higher creature has a greater capacity for good and evil is strangely ignored)

Johnny Mac says this in his book,

Deliverance from this state [the human condition, a fallen state] will not come from any process of evolution, either. In fact, the whole creation-including the human race-is now subject to a kind of devolution, which no amount of education, enlightenment, environmentalism, psychology, civilization, or technology will ever be able to reverse. What is needed is redemption.

What is curious to me is how the folks who most aggressively reject the Christian explanation for the human condition and thus God’s cure for it (redemption through His Son Jesus Christ), are the folks who have a different sort of faith though they ridicule so-called people of faith.

One could even say their faith is a blind faith, one that naively holds that social programs will somehow change human nature or a continuous reiteration of the so-called “golden rule” will somehow keep us from what comes naturally.

As CS Lewis commented,

What is the good of drawing up, on paper, rules for social behaviour, if we know that, in fact, our greed, cowardice, ill temper, and self-conceit are going to prevent us from keeping them?

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I don’t know how to have one drink either

Which is the major reason I needed to stop drinking, and with God’s help I did after being born again. Hard enough to pick up one’s cross as it is without attempting to do so in an inebriated state…

The post’s title says “either” because actor Shia LeBeouf told Details Magazine as much, Shia LeBeouf: ‘I Don’t Know How to Have One Drink’

I understand that there are many well-intentioned Christians who assume that God forbids all of His children from consuming alcohol. Scripture does not say this, though drunkenness is strictly forbidden and one can see why.

The decision to drink is a personal one for the Christian. Clearly, if you’re like me and don’t know when to say when, then don’t do it unless you want to open yourself up to all sorts of stumbling blocks and make yourself eternally useless (not to mention the fact that you might make someone else stumble).

Far be it from one such as I to assume that every one of my Christian brothers and sisters has this same struggle, and thus impose prohibition on them. The words of C.S. Lewis are apropos here,

One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way.

An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons–marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.

Man kills 2 in Unitarian Universalist “Church”

From C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity,

But a Christian must not be either a Totalitarian or an Individualist. I feel a strong desire to tell you–and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me–which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us.

He always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.

The Conservative/Liberal divide, I think, falls under Lewis’ pairs of opposites theory. Good folks (insofar as men can be called good) reside within both ideologies.

Yet we are made to think (the media might share most of the blame) that whatever side we associate most with, the people on the opposite side do Satan’s bidding. Most of the barbs are traded by the so-called talking heads on the various cable news outlets, and us “common folk” usually fall into battle lines like the armies of old.

The vitriol one side has for other usually doesn’t go beyond accusatory words but sometimes these passions get whipped up into such a frenzy that something like this happens,

Police: Man shot churchgoers over liberal views

Click here for another report of the incident.

Update: Apparently the shooter had issues with Christianity (“Neighbors: Accused shooter everyone’s friend, questioned Christianity”), which is kind of strange because the Unitarian Universalist “Church” isn’t even Christian.

God’s Response to the Problem of Pain

The following cartoon was drawn by Ken Catalino whose work is featured at Townhall,

It probably refers to the current devastation in Myanmar (though it could equally apply to the ’05 tsunami or Hurricane Katrina). Not sure who the angel is supposed to be, but the artist makes it evident that he is questioning God.

I understand that such events that affect so many always raise important questions about the goodness of God. The questions basically take the form of, “How can a loving God ______?

CS Lewis called it the “problem of pain” and wrote a brilliant treatment of it in his book “The Problem of Pain.”

While the book is very good and I enjoyed it immensely, but because it is solely a human product (unlike Scripture) it cannot supplant God’s own response to the paradigm of human suffering, Job.

Job spends most of the book named after him trying to understand why he has suffered so. He lost his children, his property, his health and even his friends try to provide him with easy answers.

Yet God’s response to Job’s questioning is truly one of the most majestic and humbling portions in all of Scripture,

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
“Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
“Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding…

Click here to read the rest of God’s response as well as Job’s reaction.

Lastrow, Population: 666

This blog now has the distinction of having the same number of inhabitants as the town of Monson, Maine (as of the 2000 census). That the blog is populated by posts and Monson by people is but an irrelevancy.

This often misunderstood digit makes its only appearance in Scripture here,

Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. – Revelation 13:18

I say misunderstood because many (myself formerly included) mistake it to be the number of Satan. The Apocalypse given to John begs to differ, it is actually the number of Satan’s man, the antichrist. Six is man’s number, it falls one short of the number of completeness, 7. Some say the triple 6 is a mockery of the Trinity, because three times it falls short of completeness, as each Person in the Trinity is totally complete.

This reflects the fallen state we are all born into (Augustine of Hippo dubbed it “original sin”) because of Adam’s rebellion in the Garden. As the oft-quoted statement reads,

We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners

Read more of this post

British Teenager killed in India? Blame it on God of course!

An Indian co-worker of mine informed the rest of us of a tragic event which transpired in her native land. A 15-year-old British girl was raped and murdered in the city of Goa.

The puzzling circumstances surrounding the tragedy are further explored in the following article,
“Why was Scarlett left by herself in the first place, police want to question her mother over negligence”.

My co-worker’s revelation was met with the sadness and bile that gorge up upon hearing of tragedies like these. One of our number astutely pointed out that there are “sick people everywhere” and not so astutely proclaimed that this is further proof that God does not exist.

Yes, he knows that God does not exist because if there was a God he would have stopped this injustice.

What I do know is that the irrationality that such inanities betray is as much an indicator of fallen humanity’s depravity as the things that were done to this girl.

Indeed, God is not deceived by externals.

CS Lewis and the Social Gospel?

From Mere Christianity,

‘Niceness’–wholesome, integrated personality–is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat.

But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world–and might even be more difficult to save.

It is a good thing that truly nothing is impossible with God or else none of us would escape His wrath…