Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Without a doubt, the twentieth century ranks among the deadliest in all of human history and it seems the twenty-first will likely continue this appalling legacy. This era will also be remembered as a period of intense philosophical upheaval where the pillars of culture and belief were shaken and in many cases even shattered. A number of sophisticated liberals will contend that one cannot establish a link between these sociological developments because innocents have been slain in societies assenting to Judeo-Christian assumptions and not every unbeliever has been an ax-wielding serial killer. Yet it cannot be denied that in nations where the God of the Bible comes to play a role of decreasing significance, the value placed upon human life soon follows such a downhill plunge.
Exodus 20:3-4 reads, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” The Lord continues in verses 5 and 6, “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: For I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers unto their children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto the thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” Thus from the outset, evidence exists that consequences flow directly from one’s attitudinal disposition towards the Almighty.
Usually, these consequences are thought of in terms of one’s eternal destination. However, the warning that the iniquities of the father will be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations dispels the notion of consequences being solely immediate. Rather, it indicates that ramification are possible within a wider social context. It therefore becomes evident that acknowledgment of and submission to the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob plays a fundamental role in ordering the individual’s cultural and relational perspectives.
The requirement to yield to the God of the Bible is not intended to shore up the fragile esteem of a deity lacking in self-confidence. Rather, the foremost among the Commandments serves as a protective boundary designed to shield sinful individuals from falling prey to their own delusions as well as those of others.
In “The Universe Next Door”, James Sire lists a number of assumptions regarding the nature of God embraced by Christian theism. These include the following: God is omniscient, God is sovereign, God is good, and God created the universe and everything in it out of nothing other than through the power of His own Word (23-26). These assumptions are replete with ramifications for humanity’s ethical situation. For if God is the benevolent, all powerful, all knowing creator and sustainer of the universe, it naturally follows that the plans and intentions established by His guidelines for man are therefore the best possible course of action. Obedience to the First Commandment bring the individual into compliance with the divinely ordained moral order and allows the individual to prosper the most from it — if not in this life, surely in the next. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” John 8:32 adds, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Rather than stifling mankind, the First Commandment allows for a liberation found in no other system of belief or religious thought.
Sadly though, the present age since the Fall in the Garden of Eden has been marred by sin and its consequences. Instead of complying with the First Commandment and accepting God’s free gift of salvation found through belief in the work of Christ, man has consistently preferred to go it alone in a state of rebellion. Romans 1:21-23 says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God….; but they became futile in their speculations. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of a corruptible man and of birds and animals and crawling creatures (NASB).”
It was not enough for man to bid God adieu and be on his way. Man’s religious yearnings ran so deep that something had to fill the vacancy left by an evicted God. Throughout the twentieth and now into the twenty-first century, man has grown increasingly less-flustered about blatantly occupying without having to hide behind golden calves or Olympians sculpted from marble the throne once reserved for God Almighty alone.
Even though belief systems purporting to be theistic but opposing a sound Biblical conception of God present their own dangers, for the purposes of this brief analysis the most stunning ethical contrast is provided by none other than secular humanism. According to Tim LaHaye in “Mind Siege: The Battle For Truth In The New Millennium”, secular humanism holds to the following principles: God does not exist, man is all that does exist, and everything we see and experience in the world today arose through a process of evolution set in motion by the spontaneous generation of matter devoid of any divine creative impulse or overseeing guidance (185). As such, man finds himself alone in the universe, having to rely solely on his own finite intellect for survival and understanding. This state of existential self-sufficiency extends to the arena of ethics as well.
As with its theistic counterpart, the nature of humanism’s system of ethics indelibly flows from its object of ultimate adoration. Thomas Oden in “Two Worlds: Notes On The Death Of Modernity In America & Russia” classifies the ethical motifs of modernity — to which secular humanism serves as a backbone — as autonomous individualism, narcissistic naturalism, and absolute moral relativism (33-35). Translating this into English, in the humanist system of ethics, values are ultimately determined by the individual in response to external stimuli and internal biochemical reactions without reference to any transcendent moral standard. As Francis Schaeffer notes in “A Christian Manifesto”, “From the material, energy, chance concept of final reality, final reality… must be silent as to values, principles, or any basis of law. There is no way to ascertain ‘the ought’ from ‘the is” (48).” While humanist ethics might prove workable but spiritually unsatisfying in a world of one, problems arise when multiple individuals are required to engage in a high degree of social interaction.
Despite being based on faulty assumptions in violation of the First Commandment, many humanistic individuals, regimes, societies, and cultures do not necessarily set out to journey down the path of corruption and libertinism. Before his death, renowned entertainer and signatory to “Humanist Manifesto 2000” Steve Allen served as spokesman for the Parents’ Television Council of the conservative Media Research Center in that watchdog organization’s campaign to cleanup America’s polluted broadcast airwaves. However, John Frame argues in “Apologetics To The Glory Of God” that the existence of objective morality is a theistic assumption with the ultimate choice being between God and nothingness (102). And since Humanism views life as little more than a random accident, there is little reason to respect it as a treasured and unique phenomena.
Casual observers might find it perplexing that a system of thought so focused upon the human organism ends up being so dangerous to and destructive of human life. Yet such is clearly the case when examined through the light of history and current events. The most outright examples of Humanism on the rampage against individual human life are to found in those regimes and societies that at one time or the other embraced totalitarian ideologies such as Communism or Fascism.
Of such sociopolitical theories, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn in “Leftism: From De Sade & Marx To Hitler & Marcuse”, says regarding the viewpoints of those figures regarding the value of the individual human life, “The individual is subject to the will of the majority…He is a mere number in the ‘democratic process’, who can be added or subtracted…The individual is nothing — the ‘People’ everything…The individual is a mere fragment of the collective masses (426).” In the system of humanism then, the individual is not the ultimate source of value per say as is the species taken as a whole. And this is where much of the trouble comes in at.
As discussed elsewhere in this paper, the human heart is constructed in such a manner as to require some focus of ultimate loyalty. For the totalitarian, such centrality of purpose is found in the state or ruling party. Since these finite political entities do not hold absolute sovereignty unlike God, these regimes basing their foundations on nothing but pure egoism cannot countenance a rival voice providing an alternative vision or critiquing the one preferred by the prevailing elite. This is because such an elite cannot guarantee the set of ultimate outcomes it desires and still grant the same degree of individual determination as God to those over whom they seem to exercise complete control. And since it must be remembered that the humanist version of the Golden Rile declares that those who have the gold make the rules, those overseeing these sociopolitical environments are able to tinker with the parameters of acceptability within their respective spheres to justify the elimination of the inconvenient as epitomized under the rule of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.
The threat to life in nations purporting to value democracy and individual human rights may be more subtle that that found under totalitarianism, but the seductiveness of such is often spread across a far wider base. For whereas tyrants possess the power to eliminate their victims through the gulags and concentration camps shocking to most Americans, polite humanists discreetly discard those they deem an inconvenience through the sanitary privacy provided by a clinic while celebrating the deed as the epitome of self-actualization under the banner of choice. The hideous reality finds its most prominent expression in the issue of abortion where the violation of the First Commandment and the transgression of the Sixth come together in the amalgamation of a single act. Even though the numbers may be diminished in the sense that the tyrant slays untold millions and the wayward parents seeking an abortion instead bear responsibility of snuffing out one, the process leading to each of these outcomes share considerable similarity.
Analyzed from a philosophical perspective, abortion is quite often the result of assuming an ethical authority to which no human ought to be privy. The decision to abort is often the culmination of the principles discussed previously as these concepts move downward from the academic domain of the elites and into the lives of average citizens. The individual seeking the abortion — whether they realize it consciously or not amidst their struggle and trying circumstances — begins by assuming that they (not a deity transcendent to the passions of the moment) are the supreme arbiter of right and wrong.
And if no eternally objective standard exists outside of the circumstances of the human organism, one of the first things to go is truth, in this case represented in the form of scientifically accurate information and propositional axioms conforming to the facts as they actually exist. For example, in “Pro-life Answers To Pro-Choice Arguments”, Randy Alcorn confronts some of the common justifications raised in defense of this homicidal procedure. Perhaps the best argument illustrating this point is as follows: “The unborn is not a person with meaningful life. It’s only inches in size, and can’t even think; it’s less advanced than an animal (Alcorn, 56).”
Objective scientific fact teaches that the fertilized egg constitutes a genetically distinct individual whose DNA will be no more complete at the age of twenty than at the moment of conception. And the criteria of “meaningfulness” used to judge the value of human life ought to send chills down the spine of every thinking individual. Since the unborn child is as human as any other soul dwelling upon the earth, what is to stop this qualification from being invoked as an excuse to sweep aside others deemed inconvenient such as the chronically ill, the emotionally depressed, or even those expressing beliefs countering prevailing cultural norms onto the societal garbage heap. If the ability to think determines the extent of one’s humanity, can pro-choicers be said to qualify as people by their own standard?
With advances in technology, abortion simply becomes the tip of the biomedical scalpel. Genetic engineering, with its potential cures and promises to increase the quality of life for untold millions, might be even harder for Christians to grapple with. For unlike abortion, on the surface genetic engineering masquerades as a proposition in compliance with the noblest aspirations in support of human life. Yet like handguns and automobiles, these advanced technologies rather take on the moral intent of those wielding them in any given circumstance. Often those harboring the hubris of humanism hold to intentions far removed from the lofty goals of curing disease or ameliorating physical pain. Instead, those adhering to this particular worldview hope to harness these procedures to make manifest their version of an improved humanity removed from any constraints imposed by an external creator, regardless of the detrimental consequences likely to be wrought upon actual human lives.
To address this issue, one might be surprised to learn few better apologetic resources exist for the Christian than certain types of science fiction since this form of imaginative speculation often allowed a theme to be taken to its conceptual extremes. At the one end of the genetic continuum stands the possibility of a master race not unlike the horror envisioned by Adolf Hitler. This possibility was considered on the program “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda” in the form of a genetically engineered race know as the Nietzscheans who end up enslaving most other humans and plunging the transgalactic civilization know as the Systems Commonwealth into an age of lawlessness serving as the backdrop against which the ongoing saga unfolded .
While most prevalent themes seem to address the domination of humanity by these wayward laboratory experiments, the possibility exists for the reverse whereby man will fail to respect the Sixth Commandment protections of those conceived and modified in this revolutionary manner, instead looking upon such individuals as property rather than as fellow persons. Steps may in fact be taken to even alter or limit the fundamental human characteristics of such beings. One branch of such research known as transgenics hopes to introduce animal DNA into the human genome. Thomas Horn noted in a WorthyNews.com article titled “Transgenics: Creating Real Monsters” that such efforts in spirit violate the injunctions against bestiality found in Leviticus 18:23 by undermining the integrity between species with the possibility of “ultimately producing animal characteristics within humans.” These ideas have been explored in a number of television programs such as “Dark Angel” where one of the characters was forced to live life with the body of a human and a face evoking the features of a lion.
In a sense, one might look upon the study of Bible prophecy as a discipline where the seemingly unbelievable predictions of science fiction often take form in the concreteness of history. And while admitting that one cannot state with absolute certainty how God might permit the events of eschatology to come about, these horrors may very well transpire through the aide of a form of genetic engineering that recognizes no ethical limits and respects only the lives of those wielding power at the time. The Raelian movement, a religious sect that worships extraterrestrials as the creators of mankind, hopes to resurrect the dead by cloning them. Ultimately, this could provide the means whereby the Anti-Christ could pull off a counterfeit resurrection.
Other passages of prophecy sound like a transgenic nightmare. In particular, the locusts of Revelation 9 come to mind. These creatures are described as like unto horses prepared for battle, with the faces of men, the hair of women, the teeth of lions, and the tails of scorpions. Such creatures may come from the pit of Hell, but they could very well find their way from there through the route of some mad scientist’s laboratory. In the vain attempt to reshape humanity in its own image, transhumanists could scar man’s precious visage through such a narcissistic undertaking that, unless those days be cut short, no flesh would be saved (Matthew 24:22).
James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” The Ten Commandments begin to unravel in the lives of those who have not come to repentance in Jesus Christ. Should an individual or society fail to recognize God’s rightful place as ruler of the universe, such individuals could unwillingly discover that they might not be around very long to enjoy the universe that God so lovingly created.
By Frederick Meekins