Science, Engineering, and the Kingdom of God is a beautiful post from Bojidar Marinov. I’d happily do a simple copy/paste of the entire post, but instead I’m going to copy over the most striking comments and insights.
We will talk about them in terms of applied theology; that is, what do science and engineering have to do with our life choices for this specific point in time and history. And even more, what do they have to do with the choices our children make, choices for which we as parents are partially responsible, given that it is our parental responsibility under the Dominion Covenant to teach and direct our children in their individual purpose in the Kingdom of God.
If Christian parents decide to push forward to regain the hard sciences, and if their children willingly follow their lead, then there are going to be radical changes in Western (and even global) culture.
BIG changes. For the better!
Marinov undercuts the current drive to “take control of the culture via social prominence”, pointing out to the long, long string of Christian failures here. Homeschooling is a success, but Christian colleges, musicians, lobbyists, etc, are irrelevant in today’s world.
There is a reason for that failure. The reason is that behind all these efforts to “influence the culture,” there is a false philosophy. That philosophy is that cultural influence is achieved through high social visibility. The higher one’s position in the society is, the more influence he can have on the culture. Since in our own time the highest level of social visibility belongs to politicians and Hollywood actors, the assumption is that these are the true cultural leaders of the today. And that politicians and Hollywood producers by default set the cultural standards of today. Therefore, the majority of Christians today – well, the majority of active Christians today, to be precise, since a vast majority of those who go to church couldn’t care less about anything whatsoever – see the capture of those positions of high social visibility as the only way to turn the tide of secularism.
Focusing on what is seen, and not what is unseen.
And keep an eye on those uncaring church members, who are at church out of habit or for the social benefits… and not to hear and obey the commands of God.
If we only elect Christian politicians, we’ll have a Christian America again. (By the way, it was a majority of Christian judges who removed Judge Roy Moore in Alabama. And it is majorities of Christian politicians who keep abortion legal in most states.) If we only have a Republican majority on the Supreme Court, we will overturn Roe v. Wade. (By the way, it was a Republican majority that gave us Roe v. Wade in the first place.) If we only have more influential Christian lobbyist organizations, we could change Washington DC. (We have dozens of those, and they do nothing more than consume donations.) If we only start producing Christian movies, we will change the culture. If we only capture Hollywood. Etc., etc.
God blesses obedience. Not hot air.
The problem is, even if we capture these “cultural mountains,” we won’t be able to change the culture nor influence the culture. Because the culture is not influenced by social visibility.
Victory is not about popularity.
Victory is not gained by having a lot of people liking you.
You all know about the modern obsession with gender and sodomite “marriages”; it’s a constant talking point for some conservatives pastors and church activists. Some even say that this is the first time in the history of Christendom when the meaning of marriage has been changed to mean a union between two men or two women . . . or whatever else it may mean. But this is not true. There has been such a period in history before, in the 14th century, when sodomy was on the rise among the ruling classes and even in the monasteries. It was openly depicted in art (just google homosexuality in art 14thcentury and see for yourself), and churches and priests in Italy and France openly performed same-sex marriage ceremonies. It was everywhere, among the most highly visible members of the society. Some Italian cities had their special part of town where male prostitutes lived and members of the nobility openly visited those parts. On the surface, it looked like Christendom would surrender to sodomy; after all, it was the most culturally visible members of the society who practiced it and promoted it. And yet, within just a generation or two it disappeared from the society. By the time of Erasmus in the second half of the 15th century, no memory had remained of the rampant sodomy just a couple of generations prior; and Erasmus only makes a hint to it in the monasteries of his time. Luther seems to not know of the problem in his time in the 16th century.
The Kingdom of Satan vanishes into dust.
Many reading this (in 2017) should be able to recall the oh-so-powerful Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. A vast and heavily armed empire in 1980, and a matter for historians by 1992.
Apparently, sodomy’s high social visibility didn’t give any cultural advantage to sodomy; the culture didn’t accept it as normative, and it died away. There is a multitude of such examples in history, the most amazing of which is the victory of the early church against the Empire in the first three centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection: Not only the Church was not culturally visible, it had to hide to survive. And in the final account, the catacombs won the culture over the palace. Social visibility doesn’t produce cultural influence.
Christ expects enduring victories, real growth that can be built upon, and on, and on, as the glory of God reaches to the sky.
Jesus explained it in Matt. 20:24-28 (also Mark 10:41-45; Luke 22:24-27):
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The mother of sons of Zebedee had come to Him and asked Him to place her sons in a position of high social visibility: “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” Jesus’s answer was, “You don’t know what you are asking for. My social visibility is of a different kind. And in fact, in the new world I am about to inaugurate, cultural greatness will be defined in a different way: not through being socially visible, but by being a servant. Or, as Dennis Peacocke summarized it perfectly well three decades ago, in God’s world, “whoever serves, leads.”
Jesus Christ is actually serious about this. It’s why He, the creator of the universe, stooped to wash the feet of sinful and filthy men.
We are to follow His humble example.
The culture is never and has never been dominated by crafty political manipulators, or artists, or movie producers; these have, at best, only followed the culture.
Followers, not leaders.
The culture itself follows those who serve.
Leaders, not followers.
This truth manifested itself in Jesus’s life as well, when in John 6:26 He said that the real reason the people were seeking Him was not the miracles (that is, the high social visibility) but the fact that they ate of the bread and were filled (that is, real social service).
Not the image, but the reality.
This, now, leads us to an important conclusion: if we want, as Christians, to influence the culture, we need to be looking not for ministries and occupations of high social visibility, but for those of real service. Whoever wants to be great culturally, must be the servant of the culture. And servant means not someone who simply speaks with culturally acceptable cliches of pretended humility – as so many of our churchian celebrities today do – but someone who has identified the real needs of the society and works to minister to those real needs. And in order to identify those needs, he has gone to the Bible, and to the meaning and purpose of man’s life, within the framework of God’s Covenant. And then, when he has identified and defined those needs, he has organized his life and the lives of his children – in terms of training, education, and career choices – to meet those needs.
Of course, the needs of men are a countless multitude . . . but only on a first glance. In reality, they are very few, or at least, can be summarized under one heading only: the Dominion Covenant. Man was created for a specific purpose: work to turn the formless earth into an ordered, capitalized city.
We are made to work.
Work real value into God’s creation; make it ordered and useful for future generations. Take the resources scattered in the garden and build then into a productive society in order to save other men time and effort, which they would be able to apply to even more stewardship of the creation. That original Dominion Covenant is still in force; we have never been freed of it. It continues to be our debt and obligation to God, and it continues to define our very nature as human beings. (Listen to my sermon, “What Is Man?”) This Dominion Covenant is also at the foundation of why we were saved: not to enjoy a purposeless eternity in golden slippers, plucking golden harps, but to continue to transform God’s creation into greater and greater order, for the glory of God. Make the creation productive. Make the society productive. Think of a country like Russia, having GDP of about $1 trillion with a population of 140 million. Now consider the fact that Greater Houston has an economy half that size, with a population of less than 5 million. When you add some adjacent areas, Houston has economy comparable to that of Russia. That is, it can produce as much as Russia, with a population of only one-25th of the population of Russia. And now consider that the Kingdom of God in its developed stage of covenantal faithfulness and blessings will have productivity far greater than that of Houston today.
The profitable servant is blessed. The unprofitable servant is cursed.
(And if you think that Russia was cursed now, you should have seen it under Communism!)
his task at increasing the productivity of creation through order and capitalization helps serve all the other needs of man. While poor people will always be with us, and we can always give them whenever we want (Matt. 26:11; John 12:8), the best solution for poverty is not alms but increased productivity. […] In the final account, a faithful culture is a culture that takes the Dominion Covenant seriously, and applies its energy to work and productivity, so that in the final account, the earth is subdued and serves man in the best and most economical way. Work, according to R.J. Rushdoony, is the social energy of the redeemed man in action. The redeemed man is a working man.
Let’s repeat that: The redeemed man is a working man.
We’re here to change the world… to make it better than before.
Changing things for the better takes productive, thoughtful work.
(And good observation & analysis, to see and know what must be done.)
True covenantal service, therefore, must be sought not in socially visible positions of power. It must be sought in those occupations and ministries that help develop the productivity of mankind. It is there where we can only expect to achieve such positions of authority as to influence the culture. And it is there where we need to focus our attention and the attention of our children.
To lead, serve.
There’s hardly a need to explain to modern Americans the importance of science and technology for the enormous levels of productivity – and therefore prosperity – that our world today enjoys in comparison to previous generations. there’s probably not much need anymore to explain to American Christians the Christian origin and the Biblical foundations of modern science and engineering. Whatever mythologies secular historians may devise to claim some non-Christian origin of modern science and technology, historical data are clear: we owe our science and technology to the development of Christendom in the last 1,000 years.
Science and technology belongs to God… and is a gift to His children.
Indirectly, we can see the proof for this Christian character of science and technology in the cultural agenda of the enemies of Christianity today: it is not just by mere omission that Common Core math is designed to confuse children using completely illogical principles of reasoning. It is not by chance that environmentalists and socialists and global warming alarmists and others like them have made their target the technological development of the West. It is not by chance that modern governments are trying to take control over and restrain, where possible, technological development. (Think of the recent decision of several European countries, and of some US cities, to ban Uber and Lyft, for example, or to control Internet.)
The enemy knows that science and technology is a gift from God, and therefore wants to destroy it.
They may well succeed in destroying the universities: but that merely renders those God-despising institutions powerless. The future is coming, whether the enemies of God – Secular or Muslim – wishes it or not.
Hiding in willful ignorance will not save them.
We would be wise, not to follow their example.
This war against science and technology is not a side issue to the covenantal battles of the Kingdom of God; it is one of its main battles. Technological growth is a testimony to God’s victory; His Dominion Mandate to man is being fulfilled even with mankind still burdened by sin, and only lifted by the redemption of Jesus Christ. For this technological development to happen, more and more people – whether Christians or not – have to abandon their pagan worldviews and adopt the worldview of the Bible. Whether they believe the Bible or not, they have to agree with its presuppositions in order to be able to do science. In the Dominion Covenant, even the enemies of God are forced to learn more about Him and His Kingdom. They may hate it, but they have no choice. The worldview of the Gospel – which only makes science and technology possible – will eventually permeate every area of man’s thinking.
That’s where true service is. Especially in America, where, because of the retreat of the church and the Christian families from education, we have allowed math and science instruction to deteriorate to disastrously low levels. We are a culture increasingly dependent on technology; which, in itself, is good. And yet, we are a culture that is increasingly incapable of supplying the job market with technicians and engineers trained to not simply perform tasks but to understand the very processes they are supposed to control and manage. That’s the real reason why US companies are forced to hire more and more engineers and technicians from abroad.
God’s people should change this.
God’s people can change this.
Therefore, God’s people are COMMANDED to change this.
Science is a species of Truth, and Truth should issue out of Christian hearts, minds, writings and words like a powerful and nurturing river, filling the world.
And here, Christians can make the difference. Because it is where the culture is bleeding where true service is needed. And since our culture is bleeding in the field of trained scientists and engineers, because of the low quality of math and science education, Christian homeschooling families can and must effect a change by changing their educational and career priorities. There’s a void to be filled; we must be there to fill it. That void is not in the area of high social visibility; it’s not that we don’t have enough actors or movies or music bands or social activists or politicians or lobbyist groups or even lawyers. Sure enough, we need Christians in all of these fields, and we need Christians who know what the Word of God says about all the areas of life and action. But our overall focus must be where the void is, and how to fill it. A void in the culture – especially a void which has to do with productivity and therefore with the Dominion Covenant – is God’s opportunity for the church to engage in real service. If the church doesn’t take up the challenge, someone else will.
It’s time to win.
Social visibility doesn’t influence culture. Only service does. True service, under the Dominion Covenant.