Sunday, July 08, 2018

III. The Dungeons of Delusion

[Continuing thoughts from II. What's Wrong with What's Wrong? ]

Beyond the immediate consequences of estrangement from God and the discarding of the commandments is the hideous prospect of moral self-determination—people, often young, naïve people, deciding for themselves what shall be their moral code, what they shall consider to be virtuous. Of course, this is precisely as impossible as pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. One can no more elect what shall be right and wrong than one can elect which direction gravity shall work. Just as all physical laws hold everywhere in the universe, so all moral propositions partake of universality. If morality, right and wrong, means anything at all, the same act cannot be simultaneously moral for one person and immoral for another. But choosing one’s moral code asserts exactly that: one’s moral choice is completely personal--based on one’s thoughts, background, inclinations, appetites, or even whims--not based on a perception of right and wrong in a universal sense.
One may suppose that this kind of moral self-determination is rare, confined solely to extreme radicals and people who are already morally bent. But it is not. The practice of revising (if ever so slightly) particular commandments to suit the situation or the times or the shifts in culture has been going on for generations. If young people often make this error, it is partly due to their elders who have failed to pass along the immutability of morality. There is only One.
Of course, in a society that is determined to experiment with freedom on an unprecedented level, the standards have fallen, one after another, some good, some bad, but all headed for the dustbin. This constant revision has induced fear, and with fear, anger, and with anger, violence and more violations of God’s law. The estrangement from God expands, as the consequences of moral self-determination multiply.
Unfortunately, for the one who is estranged from God, the act of choosing one’s moral code grants the illusion of freedom, in a realm where there is absolutely no freedom at all, and the illusion of having chosen, when there is no choice. To believe otherwise is a trap. For with the choosing, the unwitting slave is taken into the dungeon of his delusion, from which his only hope of release must be an Act of God.
Mercifully, He has acted. God has satisfied man’s need with the Gospel. The Gospel perfectly addresses man’s need, everywhere, for it holds exclusively the promise of establishing fellowship with God. And from that restoration alone, all the other corrective measures flow, as spiritual health returns. To spend time and effort chasing other answers, other solutions to man’s problems, or the alleviation of man’s miseries, without first embracing and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a fool’s errand. To be clear, even the condemnation of moral self-determination and all the antinomian behaviors that result is not enough. One may well be called upon to act and work in other ways to address man’s less fundamental needs, but those efforts should be subordinated to the one primary calling, to live out and proclaim the Gospel of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself.


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