Mark Rushdoony wrote this piece to highlight the errors of an “abstract theology.”
So what’s wrong with abstract theology? Two things: 1) God is real–not an abstraction, or a concept; and 2) God is not only real: He is a person. We are individual persons because God is a person and He created us in His image.
It’s easy to say “God is a person,” but it’s worth taking time to think about it. This is an astounding thing to realize! Nothing else we say or think about God makes any sense apart from the realization that God is a person. With all that that implies.
And if the very idea of a Person with infinite power and perfect knowledge doesn’t provoke in you a healthy sense of fear… you need to think about it longer.
7 comments on “‘How Christians Worship False Gods’ (Chalcedon, 2009)”
I really annoyed the summation of all this.
One question that I have heard considered, in the context of the current situation, is whether God has ever used disease as a punishment. The scriptures would indicate that He has. One commentator I recently heard declared this to be impossible because a loving Creator would never do such a thing. Such commentators are basically defining God as good, then imposing their own standard of “goodness” upon God.
They forget one basic truth, which is established in the third chapter of Genesis; mankind is in a fallen state. God would have been completely within His rights to leave disobedient mankind to their own devices and allow mankind to suffer the full consequences of their sinful state. In fact, He has done that to a great degree. All around us, we see the results of immorality, dishonesty and various other sins. Without mercy and grace on His part, the human race would likely have destroyed itself millennia ago.
In 1 Samuel 5, it tells how the Philistines, after having stolen the Ark of the Covenant, found that every city they moved it too was plagued. This would seem to indicate that God, indeed, has used disease as a punishment. Consider the context; the Ark of the Covenant was to be handled in a prescribed manner by the Israelites. It was in no way a trivial matter to violate these rules. God’s use of disease against the Philistines was well with in His rights. They had stolen this Ark from its rightful place, which was in the Tabernacle, in Shiloh. This was part of the worship prescribed by the Sovereign LORD. The image of Dagon was placed before the Ark. as it was moved to the temple of Dagon. This idol repeatedly fell over, and finally was found with its head and hands cut off. This is God’s sovereignty which was being challenged. He acted accordingly.
Does this square with the image of a loving God. Yes it does, because nothing will ever work out to mankind’s blessing, unless the sovereignty of the Creator is completely upheld. He is our standard of goodness, and His ways are higher than ours. He acts justly.
I am not promoting the notion of COVID 19 as being punishment from God. How would I even know if that were the case. But all disease and suffering stems from the fact that mankind is in a fallen state, and it comes as no surprise that such things happen.
If we want to worship the Creator, then we need to acknowledge and comprehend that He is the standard of goodness, and is not bound by our individual sentiments.
I’m sure “annoyed” should read “enjoyed.”
But your comment is very well stated, and I hope everybody reads it.
Until this very moment, I didn’t know that they weren’t just different spellings for the same word. 🙂
Nope, you can credit that to an algorithm written into auto-correct. I suspect that a lot of the programmers they use don’t speak, read or write English fluently. Auto-correct has all of the earmarks of being written in the absence of understanding the language.
It happens to us all.
The Incarnation is the greatest miracle of all. In Christ we live, move, and have our being. God knows our every thought word, and action – talk about transparent. This makes the proverb “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” so true when God is seen as Omniscient.
All excellent commentary. I fully agree, and whenever I hear someone question how a loving God could possibly do such horrible things, I know that this is a person who has never seriously studied Scripture, and who has no understanding of a God of perfect justice. If they read Isaiah 45:7, that would be a beginning place. We have to understand His words “your thoughts are not like my thoughts, and my ways are higher that your ways…” There are many more, but we have to pray for the proper understanding as we read.
And sometimes we have to trust Him even when we don’t understand at all.