Category Archives: Philosophy

The Theocracy Fallacy

Bible and Cue Card Used by Gerald R. Ford When He Took the Oath of Office

Bible and Cue Card Used by Gerald R. Ford When He Took the Oath of Office

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.   (Revelation 12:5)

Recently the liberal news media bushwhacked presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson for his statement that a Muslim should not serve as President of the United States. The statement found great support among conservatives, but left-leaning Democrats and Republicans were self-righteously offended by his remarks. Attempting to do some damage control without really backing down, Carson explained that someone who would place Sharia Law above the Constitution of the United States cannot honestly swear to uphold and defend the Constitution. Carson rightly pointed out that Islam is a theocracy – god rule. A true follower of Islam cannot separate his religion from his politics; they are one and the same. The Muslim holy book and other Muslim sacred writings call for strict adherence to Islamic law. (“Islam” means “submission.”) Therefore, if a faithful Muslim were to become President of the United States, “he” (because a Muslim woman would not be permitted to hold such an office) would have to, out of obligation to his religion, invoke Sharia Law when it came in conflict with the Constitution.

In his defense, Carson qualified his stance by saying that he could indeed vote for a Muslim as President, if that Muslim denounced Sharia Law and swore to uphold the Constitution in all cases. (Of course, the Qur’an encourages Muslims to lie to “infidels,” so their integrity would be questionable.) Furthermore, said Carson, he would not vote for a Christian, if that Christian advocated for a Christian theocracy. Our nation is and always has been a nation of laws, and the Constitution is the law of the land.

I fully understand and agree with Dr. Carson’s stance. What I believe is missing here is a clear understanding of what a theocracy is. According to Dictionary.Com, a theocracy is “a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.” The problem with that definition is in the word “recognized” and in the phrase “laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.” That renders the definition false because it is humanistic in nature. First of all, the deity has to be “recognized” by man as the “supreme civil ruler” which means that ultimately it is man that is defining the laws of the god. Secondly, the laws are interpreted by men who are either appointed by men or self-appointed as “ecclesiastical authorities.” Ultimately the “theocracy” becomes an “androcracy” – a rule by men, so the “god-rule” goes out the window.

When God brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land, they had no king other than God. God gave His law to Moses and set up a system of priests and judges to administer His law. Not long after they settled in the land, reliance on God and His law fell by the wayside and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25). Therein lays the problem with a theocracy – man.

A true theocracy is absolute rule by God. Until Christ returns to set up His kingdom on earth, any man-initiated theocracy is doomed to fail. When Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His rule will be absolute. Speaking of Christ, the Messiah, the Lord says, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9). When He returns, He will share His administration with His saints “And [they] shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Revelation 2:27). There will be no question of authority because His eternal law will not be violated. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelation 19:15).  The “sharp sword” from His mouth is the Word of God: “For the word of God is quick [i.e., “alive”], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Until Jesus returns, no true theocracy can exist. Any so called theocracy devised by fallen man is thereby flawed. Dr. Ben Carson is right. Anyone adhering to any human defined theocracy is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. As it stands, the U.S. Constitution, because of its foundation on God’s Law, must be upheld as the supreme law of the land.

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No Time Like the Present

timeflies

… behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

We understand time in three phases: past, present, and future. We receive wise counsel not to live in the past while at the same time we are advised to plan for the future. Indeed, even the Apostle Paul exhorts, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Our minds help us in regard to the past by minimizing bad memories and enhancing the good ones. This is healthy for when we latch on to bitter memories, the effects degrade both our physical and mental health. If we focus too much on the future, we can set ourselves up for disappointment, if we fail to accomplish unrealistic goals.

Either dwelling too much on the past or focusing too much on the future can both have negative effects on our lives, so we are encouraged to live in the present. “Take time to smell the roses,” we are told. Recently, this has given me cause to ponder. Just how long is the present that we should dwell therein? A minute? A second? A millisecond? A nanosecond? Time constantly moves forward with no stops. In the blink of an eye, the present becomes the past, while in the same instant we arrive in the future and then that is gone. The question is really an existential one since it deals with our existence and experience. We experience life through our senses: touch, sight, taste, hearing, and smell. These all employ our nervous system with the brain and all of its complex network of nerves. So I thought perhaps the present has to do with the speed of nerve impulses. “Scientists have an idea how fast nerves send signals. It varies among different animals and humans, but in general, one can say it is very fast, on the order of 115197 ft/sec (3560 m/sec).”[1] That is amazingly fast, but even at that the nerve impulse itself has a start and stop time, so it too moves from the past into the future with no hesitation.

So, how long is the present? Apparently, the present cannot be measured by time, so this must be a philosophical question. I asked a coworker, whose opinion I value highly, how long he thought the present could be. He said the present does not exist. Similarly, I asked an astrophysicist friend, and he said suggested that it was zero. Both of these answers make sense to me because time is constantly moving forward. I envision standing on the zero point on a line graph that continually moves beneath me from positive to negative-positive being the future and negative being the past. I operate from the zero point as time whizzes by me, but what I do at the zero point – the present – influences the future that comes at me.

I posed the same question to my oldest son. He’s pretty smart in his own right, and he gave me the most provocative response of all. He said, “The present is eternal.” I do not know if he fully understood the ramifications of such a profound statement. For starters, God is eternal, and He identifies Himself to Moses as “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He is ever-present. We understand that God is unfettered by time, so He is present at every point in time. He is present in the past and in the future simultaneously. That is why He could say to the Prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God can accurately foretell the future because He exists in the future. He is eternally present.

Unlike God, we are confined by time. We can only experience time at point zero, and that only for the briefest of moments. We experience the future as it passes us by, but our actions in that brief moment affect the unseen consequences that lie ahead. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26), and as such we are eternal beings. Unlike God, we have a beginning and no end, and again, we exist at point zero. Our actions, therefore, incur eternal consequences. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), they caused an eternal rift between God and mankind (Genesis 3:22) that affected all of their posterity – you and me. Their offense and our subsequent sins offend an eternal and holy God, and the offense is eternal. Since the offense is eternal, the consequence is also eternal, and therefore must be atoned for eternally. Hell is eternal because the offense is eternal, therefore the punishment must be eternal.

The good news is that God granted a way of escape from the eternal punishment that we all deserve. I AM is present in all of time from creation to re-creation; so that

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21, emphasis mine)

At the perfect time (Galatians 4:4), God stepped out of eternity into our present time in the form of the first, sinless Adam, to offer up Himself as the perfect atoning sacrifice for all of mankind. That sacrifice had the eternal effect of mending the eternal rift between God and mankind.

But the remedy is not universal, and it is not automatic. Each individual must make the choice for himself. Making the right or wrong decision in the present will settle your fate for all eternity. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16, emphasis mine)

The present is eternal after all. There is no time like the present to change the course of your eternity.

 Notes:


[1] From http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=1950, accessed January 16, 2015.

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