Will You Know the Answer Before Time Runs Out?
“The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.” -
Everyone wants things to go their way. Is anything wrong with that? Isn’t the motto of this age, “Look out for number one”? I’m sure that most people mean the best when they say that, especially when they are talking to their son or daughter.
But, what does one really mean when they say that? What are the ramifications of really following through with such a statement? Is it realistic to think that what is good for you and what you want is good for everyone and what they want?
What if they want something different? Does this mean it is ok to thwart their plans if doing so gets you what you want? You want that promotion but you have competition for the same position. You’ve heard a rumor about your colleague
that you don’t think is true but this makes your chances greater if your supervisor hears this rumor. After all, you did not start the rumor, so isn’t it only fate since you can now likely get the promotion? Is it wrong to not say anything? Is it wrong to even start such a rumor? Yes? No? Why does it matter if it accomplishes your goal? But what happens if the tables were turned? What if someone else does the same to you? Is that wrong? Is wrong relative to the one to whom it is enacted? Can one know what is right and what is wrong if the standard is only what is best for you? Can those in the world cohabitate in peace and well being with such a philosophy?
This type of discrepant philosophy is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. This has led the way to relative truth. Your truth may not be the same as my truth. Most have come to accept such a statement – and such a way of life. Many feel that
such a philosophy is the real way to live because it is less restrictive, more tolerate, more inclusive, and thereby leads to a more harmonious coexistence with our fellow travelers here on this third rock from the sun. However, does it really? If it is the case, then why aren’t we living in better harmony with everyone? Why isn’t the world getting to be a better place to live?
So, if this is the tip of the iceberg, what is the iceberg? How does something that used to be considered irrational become something that is considered by millions to be rational and correct? Was this shift slow and imperceptible until its current state? Was the shift in this direction a matter of inevitable evolution of our moral compass, or is there something else involved here? If this way of thinking was entirely false, then it is likely it would be self evident to be false. Therefore, there must be enough partial truth in the current thought process that it has become believable. Using partial truth is a tactic that has been used since the beginning of time. What does this have to do with the timeline of which we spoke? It is a factor to the establishment of the timeline.
Before we can really discover the timeline, we must come to grips with the topic of the iceberg we mentioned above in order to understand why the timeline even exists. That topic is evil. Not a very popular topic, I grant you - but important just the same. Most people would argue that evil exists but few are able to explain why it exists or even why there is evil in the world. Granted, many religions have an explanation of the beginning of evil or the battle between good and evil, but are these really accurate? Modern man has tried to do away with the concept all together saying if everyone was free to be themselves and if there was no one being or institution able to put a moral standard on one’s actions, then mankind
would basically tend to do the right thing. However, really? Is that how people really act? We have to face the fact that there are evil people in the world and some of them really enjoy the evil of which they are involved. Deep down, people know this but accepting it weakens their argument of wanting to do what they want to do and not having to face any guilt. After all, they reason, I don’t want to murder someone. What I do doesn’t hurt anyone. Even if that were true, we still have to face the fact that pure evil exists and you can’t rationalize one without the other. Either both the “real” evil and the “not so bad” evil exist, or they both don’t exist. One cannot really look at the news for very long and conclude that evil does not
Does evil go away if we take absolutes out of the equation as a history of men like the following have proposed?
Immanuel Kant: an 18th century German philosopher who did not deny a belief in God but taught that morality is independent of theology[i]
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: an 18th century German philosopher who taught that logic can manifest itself into absolute
Søren Kierkegaard: a 19th century Danish philosopher who disagreed with Hegel but stated that truth is to be found in subjectivity rather than objectivity[iii]
Karl Marx: a 19th century German philosopher who believed that society could be transformed into a socialist utopia[iv]
Friedrich Nietzsche: a 19th century German philosopher who stated that Christianity is hostile to life, God is dead, and an absolute moral system should be rejected[v]
Martin Heidegger: a 20th century German philosopher who has, in a way, bridged the atheistic and Christian view of God and redefined it as not really an entity but an essence called “Being” and perhaps has shaped it into a new religion[vi]
Paul Kurtz: a 20th century secular humanist who states that morality can exist without a belief In God[vii]
Edwin H. Wilson: a 20th century Unitarian leader and humanist who helped draft The Humanist Manifesto which proclaims there is no need to believe in God because man is the result of unguided evolutionary change, man’s ethics derives from human need, man is social and therefore derives benefit from relationships, life’s fulfillment comes from the service of
humane ideals and working to benefit society results in individual happiness.[viii]
This list is by no means all inclusive. One can see a pattern here where the earlier philosophers had at least a type of perspective with a Christian background; the philosophies build upon each other but later take away that Christian
perspective. However, each have its roots in humanistic philosophy from the Greek era from people like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle whose ideals they tried to mesh with Biblical teaching thinking, at least at first, that these ideals will better reveal who God really is; however, as you can see, these philosophies now have God totally out of the picture. It would seem the fatal flaw in these ideals is that they surmise that because we are at the current state of a moral system we would have arrived at our current state regardless of a belief in God. Since they believe that God is out of the picture and likely a
creation of mankind for the purpose of a moral system, they don’t see the existence of God in the evolution of a moral system but just the belief in God. That leads them to conclude we have developed a moral system on our own. However, to really test this hypothesis one must go back through history and take God completely out of the picture to see if our current state of morality would have formed. I have not heard of anyone doing such a thought process. However, instead of such a feat, let’s look at their supposition of not needing absolutes to create a “good” society.
Karl Marx, influenced greatly by Hegel, believed that mankind makes their own destiny and is one’s own creator.[ix]Therefore, man can create his own utopia. So, can one really get a utopian society as Karl Marx suggests if religious beliefs are eliminated? Well, let’s think about this. If there are no absolutes and one’s “truth” is relative to oneself, then everything is relative to the goal to be achieved, and the ends therefore justify the means. If that is the case, then there is nothing to prohibit the use of any tactic or strategy if it is deemed “good” for the community. In that case, anyone becomes expendable if deemed to limit this “good” of society.[x] Can that really be considered good? If you were the one deemed
“expendable,”then I don’t think you would call it “good” but “evil.” So, if it is evil to the receiver is it not also evil to the doer as well? If good is considered the opposite of evil then one cannot produce the other, can it? Therefore, the absence of the absolutes that led to a good society leads to an evil society or one has to redefine the definition of good and evil. Is that
where most people want to go?
So, why do we have evil? Pride. What? Really? That’s it? God stated that it was the sin He hates the most (Pr 8:13) and it
keeps individuals from Him (Ps 10:4), and the Bible states that was Satan’s downfall (Ek 28:2). Think about it. The root cause of selfishness, lust, envy and covetousness is pride. It makes people rationalize anything. Is that what is occurring in the philosophies mentioned above: people too proud to admit that they can’t achieve a good society on their own?
So, why does pride exist? This goes back to God’s pure love and us giving Him glory. It is not true praise if not given freely. Therefore, one has a choice and the opposite of the choice to praise is pride. Mankind chooses to praise himself, to
make himself god, rather than the Creator God, the unique God - Elohim.
So, why does mankind make that wrong choice? Well, we have to go to Genesis chapter 3. It seems that Satan was a very high-ranking angel whom God created (Ek 28:14-15). Yes, we must understand that Satan, the devil, was a created being.[xi] Therefore, religions that see the ultimate struggle of good versus evil with each being equal in power is a distortion of the truth. Wouldn’t it make sense that a being that is against God would want others to think he is just as powerful as God Himself? It saves face better. It allows him to gain more people on his side because he can false
So, what happened that caused the angel Lucifer, morning star (Is 14:12), a guardian cherub (Ek 28:14), to become Satan, the Adversary? God claims to be one-of-a-kind. There is nothing or no one like Him. Lucifer challenged God’s
uniqueness (Is 14:14). In essence he called God a liar, something that God cannot do (Ti 1:2). Lucifer wanted to be just like God and have people worship Him. We have a created being wanting to be equal to his Creator. Therefore,
Lucifer became Satan, the Adversary.
We have now been introduced to the hero, the protagonist, and to the Adversary, the antagonist. The antagonist is leading a cause: a cause of deception. This is where the plot begins to thicken. Can the perception of truth override the proclamation of actual truth? How can one guarantee the final outcome of this battle of perception versus reality? This is now when the timeline is introduced. Let’s see how this plays a significant role in mankind’s destiny.
[i]Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy Book Two (Volume VI) (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1985). 184.
[ii]Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy Book Three (Volume VII) (Garden City, NY: Image Books,1985), 189-190.
[iii]Copleston, Volume VII, 335-336.
[iv]Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy Book Three (Volume IX) (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1985), 69-73.
[v]Copleston, Volume VII, 393, 402.
[vi]John Macquarrie, Martin Heidegger(Richmond, VA: John Knox Press, 1968), 4-10, 58-60.
[vii]Robert K Garcia and Nathan L. King, Is Goodness without God Good Enough? A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics(New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2009), 25-45.
[viii]Humanist Manifesto III, “Humanism and Its Aspirations” American Humanist Association, http://www.americanhumanist.org/humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III(accessed 03-July-2012).
[ix]Fromm Erich, Marx’s Concept of Man(New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1966), 15.
[x]Art Lindsley, C.S. Lewis’s Case for Christ: Insights from Reason, Imagination and Faith (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 156.
[xi]Renald E. Showers, Those Invisible Spirits Called Angels (Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1997), 76-86.