Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Leaving God Behind

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Most important, know this: in the last days scoffers will come, jeering, living by their own cravings,   2 Peter 3:3 (CEB)
Francis Schaeffer was one of the most valuable theologians of the twentieth century.  Many persons of my generation (born in the middle years of that century) look to the decadence of modern civilization as a recent occurrence. Schaffer points to a much earlier time.
In his book, The God Who Is There[1] Schaeffer points to leaders of the 19th century enlightenment – an unabashed movement of human determination to leave God behind in the dust of humanity’s “greatness”.
It takes a long time for a whole culture to be turned.  While it looked like the cultural revolution of the 1960’s was a singular generational revolt, it was more the culmination of centuries of brewing humanism – man replacing God on the throne. 
Humanism, leaving God behind, is the behavior of people imagining they are becoming masters of their universe and creators of their own destiny.  As William Ernest Henley’s poem has it, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.  But leaving God behind doesn’t produce humanism’s supposed greatness; it merely reveals the engineering of despair and destruction.
This kind of bleakness, Schaeffer points out, can easily be seen in the darkness of the art, poetry, music and cultural decadence of the (so-called), enlightenment.  Check out this poem by Hans Arp (1887-1966), a child of the enlightenment period:
the head downward
the legs upward
he tumbles into the bottomless
from whence he came.                          
Schaeffer writes about Arp’s thinking:  On the basis of modern man’s methodology, whether expressed in philosophy, art, literature or theology, there can be no other ending than this – man tumbling into the bottomless.[2]
In short, the conclusion that so many came to in the “enlightenment” is that man came from nothing, becomes nothing; there is no meaning or purpose to life.  My word; it’s no wonder so many of the artists, poets and philosophers of that era committed suicide!  How different than Jesus’ outlook:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (KJV)
Francis Schaeffer wasn’t just a “theological social scientist” – he was more of a prophet, reminding us of Apostle Peter’s warning about the end of man who scoffs at God.
Now, enough of this bleakness; here’s some excellent advice from Apostle Paul on how human beings can truly reach up and touch eternity:
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8b-9 (NLT)
For you, today
There’s a simple choice here – dwell in bleak destruction and despair of “man’s enlightenment”– or dwell with God in life abundant.  No brainer there!
Take that kind of peace out on the rocky road today!

[1] Schaeffer, Francis A., The God Who Is There, (1968, InterVarsity Press, US & Canada)
[2] Ibid., 32

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