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To Look Forward, Dig Down
F. Earle Fox
People who try to predict the future are notoriously wrong, and seldom seem to learn from experience. They are wrong because there are far to many variables for anyone to predict very far into the future. The laws of nature do not change, other than when God does a miracle, or perhaps evil spirits do a curse, but even in the ordinary level, persons change their minds regularly, even when they have sworn a sacred oath. American politicians routinely, and evilly, betray their oaths of office. Christians routinely betray their baptism and confirmation oaths. And married couples routinely betray their marriage oaths.
So the surprise is not that there is chaos, the surprise is when things go well and reasonably predictably for a spell. Some surprises, of course, are delightful. Such as birthday parties, Christmas presents, a kiss and a hug from someone who loves you. The spontaneity of life is a good thing, enhancing the goodness of life.
But some things we would like to be able to predict, such as the future of Western Civilization, or just of America. Or of a marriage, or friendship. Or a family.
Why, then is it so nearly impossible to be very successful at prediction?
As I was growing up, I would occasionally hear the Lord speaking, "Go to the deepest level, down to the very bottom." He would be advising me to get down to the fundamental level of a given problem. It was not easy, it was very difficult work. That is true because unearthing one's own foundations is scary. One is not sure that there are any sure foundations under one's feet, especially in times of trouble and unrest. It seems that the foundations are shaking, with no assurance of there being security. The peace of God which passes all understanding remains allusive for most of us.
But the lesson kept being repeated, and, over time, bore enormous fruit.
As time went on, I slowly and often painfully, began to realize that we try most of the time to tinker with the surface realities in order to change and stabilize the course of events, most notably in politics, or in our own personal relationships. We tinker with this or that law or this or that personal habit, only to find that we have just stirred up the pot once more, not stabilized anything at all. We just set ourselves up for another problem rather than stabilizing the substance of things. We treat circumstances rather than substances.
Go to the bottom. When there is a danger, go to the heart of it. Go for the jugular vein of the issue (not of the person). That is advice that the great majority of us, by far, seem to want to avoid. Probably all of us. But we must persist, or remain in the state of confusion, sweeping problems under more rugs, only to have the rugs slip out from under us.
The game of power politics is a classic example of this sort of endless chaos, illustrated by Stalin's mocking remark, "How many divisions does the Pope have?" He thought that he could control the world by coercing it. It was madness, and, according to his daughter, he died a broken man, full of hate and resentment. The world cannot be controlled by coercion because coercion simply cannot address the real issues of any of us. It is only, at best, a temporary solution when one is under lethal threat. It is never the "final solution".
There are two fundamental securities which any contingent being must have, that is any being which is less than God, which cannot explain his own source of being and cannot give himself his own reason for being. That means all of the human race. We are not our own source of being, we are not self-existent, we are not "I AM", we are very vulnerable and contingent beings.
Substantial community first requires individuals with ontological security, a natural inborn security of being so that they do not have to beg, borrow, or steal it from those around them. Most loyalty (unity) throughout history has been bought or coerced. Second, it requires a moral consensus so that we can agree on the nature of right and wrong, a fundamental basis for any stable unity. In a world created and governed by random chance, there is no moral principle, no morality, and no moral consensus.
It is a word game, because the very meaning of randomness and chance is the absence of both ontological and moral stability, not the definition of it.
"Contingent" means "dependent upon something outside of myself" for my own being. But that implies a contingency "upon" something outside of myself. The secular world tells us that we are contingent, but that there is nothing upon which we are contingent. We are accidental, the world does not "have us in mind", we are told by secular defenders of random, chance evolution. But that is the problem, not the solution. That is what creates our meaningless, absurd world, as Camus, Unamuno, and other existentialist authors have so graphically painted. Our hearts cry out for meaning, but the cosmos gives us none.
If my being is accidental, then I am born an accident, I live an accident, and I die an accident. Whatever meaning I can experience is simply what I can impose by hook or by crook on the surrounding chaos -- for a short space of time. But it dies with me as the next accidental wave of chaos takes me out. In the end, entropy wins. All concentrations of energy, all order, wind down to dispersion of energy and disintegration of order.
There is one and only one anti-entropic entity in the cosmos -- persons who are intelligent designers, supremely God, and then those made in His image, male and female. The only thing which reverses entropy is intelligent planning. As with your budget, or your attic or closet, or your family life. You have to work at it, but you can create an order if you can get others to cooperate.
Pagan and secular folks can do that also, but they lack two things: ontological stability and moral stability. They do not know who they are, and they do not know where they are going. They have no personally secure being or identity, and they have no objective purpose in life. Those two things come only from an Intelligent Designer.
So secular and pagan people are forced to that begging, borrowing, and stealing to secure themselves. That makes the world inherently competitive, self-consuming, and self-destructive. It is impossible for the world to cooperate with itself for very long. It is too inherently vulnerable and therefore defensive. That is why "uneasy lies the head that wears the crown..." Those at the top are the targets of those climbing up the pyramid of power.
Secularism has no ability to unite its people, which is why one has heard politicians of the last 60 years occasionally remarking, "We need another Pearl Harbor..." A common enemy unites people, or a common task (like going to the moon). But both of those wear out, and the people begin again to fracture into a million competing entities.
The only possible answer is a common worship of our Creator, and a common loyalty to our Sovereign. There is no other way substantially to unite the human race in a spirit of intelligent and reasonable freedom. The Biblical definition of 'God' is the One who is Creator, and who can therefore give our reason for existence, the basis of all moral order.
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Date Posted - 04/02/2012 - Date Last Edited - 07/07/2012