Saturday, September 29, 2007

In the Absence of a God-King

I've only recently begun to consider a few seemingly unrelated modern events, historical facts, and current trends and then prayerfully reflect upon them in the light of inerrant, inspired scripture.

Please understand that I'm not claiming any divine revelation here, no angelic choirs have descended into my bedroom under cover of night, nor have I been communing with the modern oracle of Delphi, Benny Hinn. I'm simply posting my thoughts and that's it.

Recently a new breed of militant atheist has arrived on the scene in the persons of Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. In essence each of these men lays out the same tired old charges as all atheists, but what sets these three apart from their atheist bretheren is the fact that they publicly, vociferously, and angrily announce in print and in person what their peers used to only whisper about behind closed doors. In effect they lay out the charge that "religion" - read Christianity - is poisonous, evil, libelous, morally repugnant, foolish and even a form of child abuse.

None of the aforementioned charges are really anything new, atheists have been making these wildly absurd claims for as long as there have been atheists, but the difference today is that the unholy alliance of Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris actually have a pop culture audience. In the past everyone except for the other atheists and those who were easily impressed and fancied themselves as "intellectuals" wrote guys like these off as what they are, cranks.

As I've written before, the unregenerate virulently, violently, and passionately hate the One True Living God. This is the clear teaching of scripture and is easy for the discerning believer to see in day to day life. Man wants to be his own god, therefore man hates the real God for really being God. Sure it's petty and foolish, even childish, but that's the way our sin nature works.

But back to our atheist trio; these men are simply acting out for all to see the true, unvarnished hubris of sinful man. They're publicly stating the same kinds of things that all sinful men have thought or felt from time to time. This also includes us as believers during our conversation with the world prior to walking in right relationship with our Creator God through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ our Savior. Historically atheists haven't fared quite as well as they do today with their book deals, radio interviews, television spots, and debate invitations. Modern secular-humanist governments naturally lend themselves toward atheism, therefore modern day anti-theists enjoy both the unprecedented liberty to espouse their perversity and the unprecedented ability to make a tidy profit while doing it.

Sinful men learned quite early in the game of politics that in order to be an effective and authoritative ruler one needed at minimum to be chosen of "god", and for maximum effect he would need to declare himself to actually be "the god", hence the term god-king. As you might imagine the likes of Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris would be a rarer sight than a unicorn under the dominion of a god-king, for obvious reasons.

Even as recently as modern times we've had god-kings enthroned and enshrined by their populace. Consider, for example, the emperors of Japan who reigned as god-kings until the end of the second World War and the diminutive, androgynous, platform shoe and bouffant wearing god-king of the DPRK who even now is benevolently ruling and reigning, and who reportedly lovingly creates beautiful rainbows daily over his happy subjects.

Apart from the dripping sarcasm in the above sentences what should also be apparent is the fact that secular governments inevitably find themselves in competition with organized religion. This is because even - sometimes especially - within secular governments men fancy themselves as somehow more enlightened, more noble, more worthy of the power inherent in government. Government at its base is the embodiment of societal control.

Government seeks to control men and direct societies. This is what governments do.

Even righteous men aren't immune to the allure of great power and the potential for great wealth, and human government offers the potential for vast amounts of both. By nature sinful men seek after popularity, renown, power, recognition, and influence. What better place to satisfy one's sinfully endowed god-king complex than within human government?

Well, since you've asked, the other place to satisfy those desires is organized religion. Upon reflection these two seemingly disparate entities - government and religion - mirror one another nearly perfectly.

They both exert power and control over men.

They both exact tribute from men.

They both demand fealty from men.

They are both organized into discrete local, state, national, and international bodies.

They are both "managed" by the precepts and doctrines of men.

The major difference between the secular human governmental institutions of men and the religious institutions of men is that the secular government doesn't have "the god's" endorsement. Secular governments - and therefore by default governmental agents - lack the "divine seal of approval" whereas the religious institutions are happy to display their theistic credentials and tout their deity's tacit approval of their institution and its related religious activities.

According to my understanding of the Holy Bible and eschatology there will someday arise a great man of sin on the earth who will be wildly successful at selling the concept of the god-king on a global scale. This super-politician/clergyman will somehow blend the temporal power of the state and the eternal power of the divine and will meld the disparate concepts of church and state into one, the church-state. Of course this will be done through satanic power and influence but it will be done nonetheless. While this may sound like the stuff of nightmarish Orwellian fantasy or kooky religious hocus-pocus I take the Bible quite literally and believe there are a number of end-times prophecies yet to be fulfilled, and that the rise of the anti-christ is among those yet future events prophesied by inspired scripture.

From where I sit looking around at the state of the world today with rampant apostasy and lack of Biblical knowledge among professing Christians, the ecumenical leanings of the mainline Protestant denominations, the RCC, and the emergent ooze; not to mention the New Age concept of the god within us all, which both emanates from and resides within most of the false religions of the world, it seems not too far a stretch to see these seemingly separate movements slowly yet inexorably coalescing around the ultimate man of sin, the damnable god-king of Revelation.

This final, ultimate man of sin seeks to usurp the unique office of Christ and will someday demand and receive the worship of men. Though he will rule for a season the Infinite Creator and Judge of the universe has also prophesied the anti-christ's final doom in the eternal lake of fire.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:17)