From North’s Moses’ Law and Moore’s Law: More!
Covenantal Sanctions and Feedback
Moses warned the generation of the conquest that the underlying cause-and-effect structure of economic growth is based on the law of the covenant. “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day” (Deut. 8:18). The visible blessings of God in history serve as covenantal confirmations for covenant-keeping societies. These blessings are supposed to reinforce men’s faith in the reliability of God’s covenant promises in history. […] Greater faith should lead to greater obedience; greater obedience should lead to greater external wealth; and so on, year after year. This is a program of positive feedback.
Greater faith is supposed to lead to greater obedience, which leads to even more victories, which means an even stronger commitment to follow the Lord.
It is NOT supposed to mean, “Oh, I have lots of money, so now I can ignore God and do whatever I feel like.”
Covenantal sanctions are not always positive. They can be negative. “And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, l testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God” (Deut. 8:19-20). Isaiah’s description of the optimistic drunks was supposed to warn the nation of the consequences of moral rebellion. The good times would not go on indefinitely. Negative sanctions would eventually come. In the absence of covenantal faithfulness, today’s blessings point to a coming period of crisis and judgment.
“Yeah, so my children and grandchildren will be slaves to pagans who have nothing but contempt for their culture and malice for their faith. So? That’s their problem.” — every last parent who send their children to the public schools.
Over a century and a half elapsed from the era in which Isaiah preached until the Babylonian captivity of the Southern Kingdom. In the Mosaic timetable, things moved slowly. But the covenantal reality was nonetheless in force. Blessings would not go on indefinitely in the face of widespread moral rebellion.
This raises the question of time perspective. Sanctions that lie beyond one’s time perspective cease to be meaningful. If a society is short-run in its perspective, this will have repercussions on its ethics.
I am 100% confident that the timeframe of most Christians don’t extend past a single year.
Fortunately, I am not writing for them. Otherwise, I would die an early, bitter death of frustration and despair.
Time Frames and Progress
Because men today are intensely present-oriented, they consider three or four generations in the future to be irrelevant for their present decisions. The pace of social change is much faster today than it was in Mosaic Israel. Nations rise and fall within the time frame of Isaiah’s prophecy and its fulfillment. This has shortened men’s practical time perspective.
My chosen audience – however small – are those who plan to lay the foundations of a new Christendom, a good three generations from now. That is, about 120 years.
Note that it took about 300 years for the first Christian Roman Emperor to rise and rule. So I’m quite the optimist!
But I’m standing by my convictions: mainly, because 1) Our Current Masters are far more incompetent, spineless, and short-sighted than the pagan Roman Emperors, and 2) Information on successful living spreads far faster now than in the past, with far fewer restrictions.
The Enemy is far weaker now than 2000 years ago, and will only grow weaker yet as it’s One True God, the State, falls apart like all the other idols.
Meanwhile, there has been a profound lengthening of modern man’s theoretical time perspective. Men think more and more in terms of evolutionary time scales. This has been true since the eighteenth century. A century before Charles Darwin, Christians had begun to abandon belief in the six-day creation. The geological strata seem to deny the possibility of a young earth. These long time frames allow men to think as though God has been shoved out of the universe in both directions: past and future.
The Eternal Dream of the pagans (and the Secret Dream of many churchmen) was finally within their grasp…
Men have become short-run decision-makers because they assume that the human race is temporally autonomous. They do not believe that God threatens any society with negative sanctions.
…as we destroy our work ethic, define our families out of existence, obliterate our culture, slaughter our unborn, and pervert our live born…
They dismiss God as a factor in their practical calculations, since He is too far removed temporally. Moses warned men to consider (1) the long-term inter-generational effects of their beliefs and actions (Ex. 20:5) and (2) the world’s short cosmic time frame (Ex. 20:11). Modern man ignores both warnings.
Wise Christians, with an eye for the long-term growth of their culture and civilization (and the impending failure of the Establishment), would be very wise to heed Moses.
Belief in long-term economic and technological progress was not common until the seventeenth century. But as God has been pushed away from the present with respect to both creation and final judgment. Western men have grown accustomed to thinking of their own efforts as the exclusive source of progress.
It’s All About ME!
The postmillennial optimism of seventeenth-century Scottish and English Puritans was secularized by the Enlightenment: the idea of progress. Humanism’s worldview has rested on faith in autonomous mankind’s progress and evolutionary time scales.
Humanity will continue to blossom, even as the Christian faith is invigorated.
Note that the survival of the West isn’t necessary for Christian Civilization to grow and mature.
If the time frame of the universe’s origin and its conclusion (assuming that there will ever be a conclusion) really is vast – beyond what man or society can plan for – then man is off the supernatural hook. He deals, at most, with a non-temporal god who exercises authority outside of time and beyond the creation. There is no meaningful supernatural covenant in history. There are no predictable supernatural sanctions, so there is no supernatural law. Law without predictable sanctions is mere opinion.
So, did the scientists finally get God to Just Shut Up?
The mainstream media and academic experts cry out, YES!
Note that the mainstream media is dying, and academia’s turn is coming up fast….
Social Darwinism and Economic Planning
The Darwinian time frame allows man to remove God from the throne of history and to substitute men, either as representative economic agents who compete on an unregulated free market (right-wing Enlightenment humanism) or as representative political agents in charge of resource allocation through State coercion (left-wing Enlightenment humanism). Once man is thought to be in charge, men’s belief in God’s covenantal requirements for long-term economic growth disappears.
Both Enlightenment drones are essentially about the Might and Power of Man, a.k.a. the State, the True Lord of All, the Real Source of the Law (with some handwaving to The People, naturally).
“It’s not about some unchanging moral code, handed down by a God in the Sky. It’s about the money and the guns, welded by wealthy and powerful men… and a State-Certified academic/legal priesthood to justify it all.
In the Name of the People. As always.”
The new social Darwinism, unlike the old, believes that elitist experts can plan a better future through State action. […]
Both the old and the new social Darwinism called for more knowledge, more planning, and more economic growth. The debate was over the best means of harnessing the division of labor: by State power or market competition. God was not in their plans.
Salvation by Powerful Men and Certified Experts.