…as the PTB would have us believe?
Readership: Christians; Conservatives;
Author’s Note: NovaSeeker started drafting this post on 2021 May 17, but left it unfinished. In his absence (due to work), and given the importance of the subject matter, Jack has taken the liberty of finishing this post. Ed Hurst kindly provided the exegesis of Romans 8:18-25.
Length: 3,000 words
Reading Time: 10 minutes
The Nature of Creation
There is a common belief among evangelicals that ever since the fall, all of creation is fallen, corrupted, and deformed. This belief stems from Romans 8:18-25.
18 I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 The whole creation waits breathless with anticipation for the revelation of God’s sons and daughters. 20 Creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice — it was the choice of the one who subjected it — but in the hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from slavery to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.Romans 8:18-25 (CEB)
The Garden of Eden may very well have been a place in Mesopotamia, but the illustration of the Fall does not refer to a geographical location as much as it does to a condition of humanity. (See Genesis 2-3.) Creation is subject to the dominion of man, and this is true in the spiritual realm as much as it is in the physical. After human beings fell from our eternal condition to a mortal, sinful, debased condition, Creation remained the same. However, since it is under man’s authority, and with us in a mortal state, not eternal, this casts a shadow over all of Creation. Mankind’s masterful guidance was routine in the Garden, but now, any sort of power over the natural Creation qualifies as a miracle. Instead, fallen humanity is pitted in a battle against nature and feels compelled to humble nature, rather like coercive rape instead of genuine loving mastery.
Since the Fall, Creation yearns for us to regain our eternal condition. While it continues to bear the glory of its Creator, it has to put up with humanity in a fallen state, having no authority to speak the Word and guide Creation’s activities. It groans and suffers without our management as eternal people. When Christ returns to bring a new Heaven and a new Earth, He will restore the Earth (and us) to what it was before the Fall.
Now, instead of eternal beings in charge of the Earth, we are part of the Earth, part of the mortal structure of the natural world. In coming to Christ, we gain a taste of our eternal condition, and we despair of ever belonging to this mortal condition. We know in our hearts we weren’t made for this mortal existence. We join Creation in groaning for a better existence that we know is our divine heritage.
Moreover, saying that Creation is actually fallen is a reasonable conclusion from this passage in Romans, but logically, this is a category error. Creation has always been mortal. It is not something that can fall. Instead of thinking of Creation as fallen, a better conceptualization would be to consider Creation as being under the Fall, but not in itself fallen. It is subjected to the Fall because it was designed to be under our management, and we are fallen. If one goes out and encounters the natural world in a heart-led spiritual moment, one will realize that the former interpretation of the passage misses the glory of God revealed in mortal Creation.
“Is” versus “Ought”
The conversations tend to get derailed, not only in the exegesis, but also in the eisegesis — when we try to interpret this passage from Romans (and others) in terms of its personal application — how we should think about our own sinful nature.
The arguments can basically be summed up as the difference between “is” and “ought”.
The “is” represents our as-born nature and its effects on creation — what Protestants tend to call “sin nature” — the fallen state. That is the “is” of humanity — it’s fallen, it’s base, it’s visceral, and it’s rather animalistic. The Imago Dei is still there but it’s very obscured, and the patterns of life and behavior are not patterned after the Divine Plan, but after baser human instincts and mortal desires which are more animalistic. The “reason” for this is spiritual, of course — it’s the Fall, which was a spiritual event that had physical consequences. But the lived experience of humanity in its fallen/”sin nature” state is largely animalistic, and largely based on similar patterns as we see in the animal world — it’s what humans devolve to after the fall, when the Imago Dei is not erased but it’s mostly obscured.
The “ought” is what regenerated Christians are supposed to be doing, now that they are no longer living in their sin natures, and are alive in Christ. This represents the Divine Plan for human behavior, as fully reflecting the Imago Dei as intended in humans, and it isn’t based on animal desires, but rather subjects those animal desires to spiritual priorities.
The difficulty in understanding the difference between “is” and “ought” arises because we live in an age that prioritizes, in an absolute sense, what is “natural”. That which is “natural” is seen as, ipso facto, “good”, precisely because it is natural — its naturalness is what evidences its goodness in and of itself. In a sense, this is true, because Creation is natural, and Creation is good. But the confusion arises when we try to incorporate the fallen nature of humanity into the goodness of Creation. In effect, this is the same as denying the Fall and insisting that the fallen mortal state of humanity is superior to the Divine Plan. According to this reasoning, what is “natural” is “in-born”, and what is “in-born” is therefore not “chosen”, and what is therefore not “chosen” shouldn’t, in the eyes of many, be subject to moral sanction, because it is “natural”.
Leaving aside how illogical and bizarre it is to associate our sinful nature with the nature of Creation, conceptually, it has to be admitted that this is a widespread belief in our culture, and it has an impact on how people view moral questions as well.
The Principle of Power
We have all seen this line of reasoning trotted out, usually implied, but rather explicitly in some cases, about all of the sexual issues, both heterosexual and otherwise.
Except for being straight, white, and/or male.
So then we might question why the PTB can make that inconsistent switch, because once these exceptions are made, neither an acceptance or denial of the reasoning represents any firm belief. Upon further examination, we find that the apparent “double-mindedness” is not based on sound reason, but is merely a tactical statement, in both cases. That is, the adherents do not metaphysically believe that all people who say that they are gay or trans or what have you are “born that way” in the way someone is born with a certain eye or skin color. They do understand, however, that legally and culturally this is a critical argument, precisely because of the jurisprudence and the cultural development during the civil rights era that concerned skin color — a “natural” trait, so the tactic was to “make these other things be considered to be the same as skin color” in order to get the same result — acceptance by the broader culture. Many of the advocates, including many of the beneficiaries themselves, do not actually believe that “LGBT” is the same as skin color, but the argument is a lock winner, tactically, and so it was adopted without reservation across the board as a philosophical tool of managing “discrimination”.
However, because they know it isn’t “true” in any real sense, they are free to abandon this line of reasoning as soon as it becomes tactically useful to do so, in order to further another goal. So, we see that being born male/white/”cis”/”het” are all traits that are in-born and cannot be changed, per this theory, but the foregone conclusion, “therefore it is beyond moral sanction”, is dropped, because the purpose of the tactic is to isolate this group based on these “born characteristics”, in order to disempower them — another form of discrimination. In other words, they permit themselves to change one aspect of the chain of syllogisms (in this case, the last one, about something being natural being beyond moral critique) and turn that around 180 degrees to foster “justice”, because pointing that phrase one way fosters justice in one instance, while pointing it the other way fosters justice in another instance — where, in both cases, “justice” means “empowering people we want to empower and disempowering people we want to disempower”.
At it’s root, this is the current iteration of the principalities referred to in scripture.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
This principality requires playing loose with the logic, so the PTB cannot stick to any “core” or “metaphysical” beliefs about the “born that way” business, one way or the other. Instead, their “core” or “metaphysical” beliefs are all about power — namely that all human institutions, structures, mores, morals, philosophies, systems of thought, laws, political and economic systems, sexualities and social norms around them, family life, religions, and everything else, are all tools deployed by the holders of actual power to enforce, entrench, and perpetuate their power … and that, therefore, any one of these things can, and should, be used as a weapon against opposition power holders in order to disempower them, with nary a care given towards logic, consistency, a broader philosophical or metaphysical belief, nor anything else, because these are all arguments intentionally constructed to confuse and disempower the opposition as a power play towards achieving an end in any case. The end is power, plain and simple. Their metaphysical belief is power — taking it from those who have it and giving it to those whom they believe deserves it (which will, of course, include themselves). Everything else is a mere tool, and is taken no more seriously than needed for the tool to have the desired effect. Therefore, they do not care about being consistent — ontological integrity is unimportant as long as the tools are effective when they are deployed and have served their purpose.
The Principality of Progressivism
In this specific area, we are, in my estimation, on the brink of a total reversal in the “justification” provided for behavior liberation in the sexual area. That is, within the next 10-20 years the main social justification for support of “LGBT” and other paraphilias is going to shift 180 degrees. LGBT will move from something you are “born with” to something you opt for, and in either case will merit full social approval. This will follow the pattern already established by feminism, and it really is simply a question of time until it becomes the “new reason” for LGBT affirmation, and that will be that.
By the time this 180 degree shift happens, from “born that way” to “freedom to choose”, no-one will bat an eyelash, because acceptance will be, by then, generationally entrenched in such a way that it is extremely difficult to dislodge, and the younger generations won’t care (and already don’t much care) about the specific “reason” given for it. No matter whether it is inborn or chosen, it will be accepted, socially, morally, and judiciously, as a “political freedom”, and a “human right” backed by law.
Again, all of these “arguments” are tools. They are not truths. They are not core beliefs. They are a means to an end for our opponents who fight to dismantle the glory of God manifested in the traditional family. They can and will be discarded without any difficulty as soon as it makes sense for them to do so, because their purposes are not about the worthiness of the arguments, but about the accumulation of power. The arguments are merely a means to an end, nothing more (and they see our beliefs, wrongly, in the same way).
Many Christians choose to remain ignorant and unaware of the principalities and powers of our age, simply because it is the easiest and most socially acceptable thing to do. In fact, entire demoninations have been washed away in the flood of what is politely called Progress(ivism). (I wrote about this before in Dissemination and Dissolution (2020-11-07) and Anti-Progressive (2020-11-16), and I will explore this further in future posts.) Progressivism is in fact, the dark Power of this age.
At this point, readers might be asking, “How does this relate to me? What can I do about this?”
Ed Hurst has recently described how Talk is the Action Required of us right now (2021-09-28). He writes,
“Let’s agree to a common denunciation of sin as sin. Let’s agree to a common promotion of Covenant holiness. Let’s study together what we can hold in common about those things. The power of this is miraculous; it opens the door for God to pour out blessings in our lives. This becomes our shalom, which is critical to our testimony. We can show off the favor of our God and link it to the Covenant.”
At first take, we might dismiss this admonition, thinking that “talk is cheap”. However, even though the aforementioned arguments are little more than tools, these tools can be rendered inoperative or inefficacious through our simple refusal to admit to them as being any sort of “truth” that should be respected and followed. Instead, we should call them out as the social tools of manipulation and discrimination that they are, and counter them with the Truth.
Adam Piggott wrote of this same approach in his post, Suffering for our Sins as a Nation (2021-09-29).
“By remaining silent when evil is perpetrated in our lands we then condone such sinning by our failure to act. The lies that are being told now are but one example of this group sinning. A lie needs two players for it to work; the person who tells the lie and the person who believes it. You believe a lie by acting within the bounds of the lie.”
Talking about the Truth is the point at which we begin to reclaim the narrative, and those who control the narrative hold power. This is why it is exceedingly important for us to know the “ought” — how things are supposed to be.
The Application: Question what is “Natural”?
Going back to the ideas expressed in the Introduction, many Christians are fairly uncomfortable acknowledging that the fallen ”sin-nature” behavior is “natural”. Most Christians seem to shy away from this topic, because they know that the broader non-Christian culture thinks (and, honestly, many Christians do as well, and perhaps think themselves) that the idea of “natural” is the same as “God designed”, when our fallen nature isn’t anything of the sort. This only becomes further confused when Christians make the category error of believing that all of nature is fallen, and then conclude that everything that is natural in this world is God’s design, from A to Z. It is equally confounding to believe that nothing in this world is God’s design. When this category error is extended to apply to practical behaviors in question, it suggests that any debased inclinations of the fallen ”sin-nature” are “as designed”, even though Christian anthropology teaches nothing of the sort. The reality should be precisely emphasized that the way humans are naturally born, with their naturally born proclivities, and their “sin-nature”, by definition, is fallen and therefore not as designed. That is to say, human nature itself is fallen and not as designed, but it is natural.
However, once we recognize that the “fallen nature”, viz. the “sin-nature”, falls within the realm of “natural”, then it becomes obvious that the whole argument for “natural = good” is in fact an inversion of the truth, calling good that which is evil, and evil good.
In addition to the prolific arguments surrounding sexual orientation, for example, pride and selfishness is natural, but that doesn’t make these traits good simply by definition. Likewise, cuckoldry and hypergamy are natural but not good. Polysexuality and secretive sexual liaisons are natural but not good.
Race and racism represent a unique point in case. As part of Creation, race is natural and good, but racism, while natural, is not good. This duality is how race/racism became a point of crossover in the PTB’s false reasoning.
Christians should search their own convictions and be prepared to give a similar line of reasoning to address hot-topic areas in which they may need to speak up. Be prepared to make an impact when the right moment presents itself.
- Σ Frame (Jack): Coram Mundo vs. Coram Deo (2020 September 7)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): Dissemination and Dissolution (2020-11-07)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): Anti-Progressive (2020-11-16)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): How to Change a Hostile Culture (2021-06-07)
- Adam Piggott: Suffering for our Sins as a Nation (2021-09-29)
Gluttony is when the former good desire for food becomes inflamed beyond its original intentions. Likewise with Sexual sin or even with Hypergamy.
Sexual Lust is a distortion of proper Eros within Marriage.
I see that formerly they had good and wholesome functions but was brought out of whack by the fall.
A wife ought to look up at her Husband. Who is her Early Lord like the Church has the Lord Jesus as her Husband. And that I think was the former function of Hypergamy.
Every sin causes a particular functionality to become over-emphasized or under-emphasized. In the glutton, the Mouth and the Stomach dominates his/her being out of proportion of its original intention.
Likewise with Lust causing Genitalia to become oversized in emphasis to it original intention.
One work of the Holy Spirit is to bring those passions back into its proper places. And hence with well proportion achieve Wellbeing as God intended.
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Speaking of the nature that we were created with:
** When did Eve decide that there were benefits to be had from disobeying God? (When did she decide it would be good to eat the forbidden fruit?) Before the fall, or after it?
** The final sacrifice (Jesus) was identified before Adam and Eve were created: For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world…” ~ 1 Peter 1:18-20 (NIV)
** God can do anything he wants to do. Therefore, he must have had something in mind when he identified the final sacrifice for our sin before he created Adam and Eve. He could have created Adam and Eve to not need a final sacrifice. He didn’t.
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