Doubtless some will choose not to read this post because of its boring subject: faith in God. Actually, this topic is perhaps the most thrilling of those we shall address.
In whom or what do you trust? Your choices are to operate on the basis of faith in humankind, or faith in God. God tells us through the revelation of His Scriptures that He gave the race free will and that that freedom was used by man such that a vast distortion encompassed humanity. Nevertheless, He has initiated a plan for the recovery and the realization of humanity’s potential. This plan is designed to bring about the cooperation of God and man in man’s deliverance. The realization of this plan is presently in process.
If we limit our horizon to just what has been observed throughout history, or even limit the basis of our views to conclusions drawn from our own life experience, we observe the same awful behavior of our race as outlined in the Bible, but that is all. The observation comes with no overarching explanation for that behavior. If we desire to change a behavior, a correct explanation of its origination is crucial.
The Christian understands that the real question is whether we place our faith in man or in God. If we are not trusting in God, if we reject the possibility of the existence of a being who we cannot put into a bottle, that we cannot isolate and account for by pure empirical data, then we are left only with man alone. There is no other entity to act. All we have then is humankind dangling from top a lonely and heartless evolutionary ladder. From this much follows.
People are then shaped entirely by genetics and environment. What is to be expected from a race whose earliest beginning is in the violence of the hunter-gatherer, and whose ascent to primacy over planet earth is by survival of the fittest, or conversely, if not politically-correctly, by his deprivation of even murder of his least fit associates? This then is the shape of man. A self-centered being who rises to the peak by violence. This is the measure.
What surprise then if his civilization is built on the foundation of his own works, his accommodation of himself at the expense of others, his erection of agencies of raw power over others such as the state? All of this includes as implicit the principle of coercion. Man coerces because this is his essence.
The Christian perspective is quite otherwise. Man is not the center, God is. Earth was intelligently designed for his healthy habitation. Sentient beings, men, angels, perhaps others, are to live together in a society based on anti-coercive principles. Unselfishness, non-violence, respect for true freedom of the individual, and the existence of a positive collective spread across the starry sky. Violence is a temporary situation in the creation, sin a temporary aberration.
God not only created man and gave him free will, but He initiated a plan for his restoration when he abused the free will given. God is a personal being, not an impersonal force. He stands beside us, even suffers with us. He loves. He gives us the beauties of life, parenthood, friendship, intimacy. He feeds us, shelters us, He patiently labors with us. He does not obliterate us when we behave adversarially to Him. he grants us time and space to become truly human, to find our way, to learn to exercise faith in His goodness.
He reveals and preserves insight that would otherwise be inaccessible to us. In His Word He tells the future, but much more than this, He illuminates the human situation and the divine response to it. He is all about healing and restoring. His plan gives us hope for the future. It outlines what must be a star-spangled sky filled with free, non-violent, non-coercive beings of soaring intellect and emotional maturity.
The Christian and not the secular ideologue may have a hope for the future, a world in which righteousness dwells. That is a peak at the plan for a healthier humanity. We come to know Him and learn more and more fully to embrace the radical freedom He offers us. After all, what kind of anarchy would it be if a race of psychopaths simply honed their psychopathology before destroying themselves?
God’s anarchy is a life with nothing between my soul and my Savior, and a Christianity which ever nudges man to take responsibility for His actions and to embrace the grace that empowers changed life. It is a return to Eden, where no coercion existed, no artificial government interposed between God and man, where no voting booths offered legitimacy to coercion. Man is thus fully man, ready to receive from God that which guides him to true humanity. He will change our characters here and now. He will aid us, so that we may strip ourselves of artificial dodges of responsibility, and not be trapped in subjection to a self we have created who is but a study in bondage. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
Trusting in the state is trusting in man, is looking for more abundant life from whence it can never be derived. Trusting in God is developing one’s faith and knowing God as direct Healer and Restorer. Trusting Him actually includes the necessity of responsible living. These are the kind of neighbors I want. This is a peek at the hope I have for a humanity that is not too full of itself to consider that God knows what He is doing and is actively working for our recovery even now.