Different Conclusions, Same Premise

My comments, adaptations, riffs off of R.J. Rushdoony’s Infallibility: An Inescapable Concept (Systematic Theology Booklets Book 1) Kindle Edition. [As per usual, this is not an endorsement or promotion of Rushdoony as a true Christian.]

R.J. Rushdoony writes:

“Because of the doctrine of evolution, a cosmic purpose and meaning are denied. Sociology, a humanistic principle, denies meaning…in favor of technology. There is no good or evil in the universe, nor purpose, nor meaning. There is only the immediate and pragmatic demand of the state ― utilitarian, opportunistic, relativistic, and unpredictable.

Meaning is thus ad hoc, for the moment, if such a thing can be called meaning. It is existential, governed by the needs of the moment, and subject to no law. As a result, such a demand or act of state or of man is infallible: it is beyond appeal. The Marquis de Sade insisted that every act of perversion, crime, or violence was an infallible act, required by Nature, or by the biological urge of the moment. There could thus be no condemnation of any act of existential man, nor any law over man. The only offense for Sade was Christianity, with its insistence on an infallibility apart from man and his biological urge.”

Droves of Christ-hating idolaters who have no consistent or solid standard for judging anything “good or evil in the universe,” nevertheless will hijack the Scriptures and say

“If God is truly ‘X, Y, and Z,’ then WHY is there evil and suffering in the world?”

Of course they cannot even begin to DEFINE — let alone object to — “evil” APART FROM presupposing the existence of the Triune God of Scripture. But of course, this is what they suppress, as Romans 1:18-23 teaches.

Regarding Rushdoony’s

“with its insistence on an infallibility apart from man and his biological urge.”

Among the irreligious and overtly immoral, objections to an alleged “problem of evil” commonly stem from a “bad religious upbringing,” which upbringing then serves as a convenient pretext for besotting oneself with the wine of fornication. The confessionally-Reformed (e.g., WCF, 2nd Helvetic Confession), while rejecting the conclusions of blatant immorality and anti-Christian bigotry, nevertheless start from the SAME premise. Gresham Machen embodies this customary drawing of different conclusions from the SAME mutinous premise.

“The real difficulty is the difficulty of seeing how a good and all-powerful God ever could have allowed sin to enter into the world that He had created. That difficulty faces not only the consistent and truly Biblical view of the divine decree which we have tried to summarize this afternoon, but it also faces the inconsistent views that we have rejected. It can never be used, therefore, as an argument in favor of any one of those inconsistent views and against the consistent view.

For both, the problem remains. How could a holy God, if He is all-powerful, have permitted the existence of sin? What shall we do with the problem? I am afraid we shall have to do with it something that is not very pleasing to our pride; I am afraid we shall just have to say that it is insoluble. Is it so surprising that there are some things that we do not know?” (Gresham Machen, The Christian View of Man, pp. 44-45).

Machen reasons from the EXACT SAME premise as any irreligious, immoral, garden-variety skeptic. He concedes the SAME pernicious premise which states that

the existence of sin, evil, suffering, casts a dark shadow upon God’s existence and attributes.

Machen concludes with the epistemologically-arrogant and pseudo-pious claim that the problem

“is insoluble.”

For those confessionally Reformed and similarly-minded with Machen, a dark and disingenuous shadow is cast upon God’s holiness, goodness, and power; to others more forthright and candid in their calumny, it is cast upon His existence. For true believers, the existence of evil compels careful Scriptural study. In Romans 9:1-24, they find a humbling, sobering, and wonderful [1] revelation and demonstration of God’s holy wrath and power that is poured out into vessels fitted for destruction that He might “make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory” (see Romans 9:1-24).

[1] “wonderful” — Truly full of wonder:

“even as it has been written, I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau. What then shall we say? [Is there] not unrighteousness with God? Let it not be! For He said to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will pity whomever I will pity. So, then, [it is] not of the [one] willing, nor of the [one] running, but of the [One] showing mercy, of God. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very thing I raised you up, so that I might display My power in you, and so that My name might be publicized in all the earth. So, then, to whom He desires, He shows mercy. And to whom He desires, He hardens. You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will? Yes, rather, O man, who are you answering against God? Shall the thing formed say to the [One] forming [it], Why did You make me like this? Or does not the potter have authority over the clay, out of the one lump to make one vessel to honor, and one to dishonor? But if God, desiring to demonstrate His wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction, and that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory, whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also out of nations” (Romans 9:13-24).