In our time much of the American church and society are adrift in the chaotic seas of nihilism. Nihilism is a condition of soul. It emerges from the labyrinth of dark passions in the fallen souls of mankind when there is no fear of God, thus, no transcendent Authority, unchanging truth and absolute moral Law since in the absence of God all truth is individually sovereign hence relative.
The satanic heart of nihilism was expressed most clearly by the apostate Christian German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in the phrase, "God is dead, therefore man becomes god and everything is possible." (Nihilism, the Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 7)
In our time nihilism is so widespread and pervasive it has entered deeply into the hearts of almost all people. Even in much of the church there is no longer any front on which it may be fought because “you have a right to your own opinion and I have mine and who are you to tell me I'm wrong?”
There is nothing new under the sun. Thousands of years before our own age of damnable nihilism there was equally damnable pre-flood nihilism. Early Church Father John of Damascus uses the word barbarism rather than nihilism to describe that evil age:
"Barbarism is that which prevailed from the days of Adam down through ten generations to the time of Noah. It is called barbarism because of the fact that in those times men had no ruling authority or mutual accord, but every man was independent and a law unto himself after the dictates of his own will." (John of Damascus, "The Fount of Knowledge," cited in Political Apocalypse, Ellis Sandoz, p. 131)
Over and across the entire denominational spectrum of the American church, a New Church that is a law unto itself is emerging from the faithful orthodox church. In the New Church the conception of God no longer reflects His own self-revelation in Scripture and many who are New Church Christians have little idea what they believe or why—or even what Christians are meant to be doing.
For example, according to some of the latest findings,
Just one in five of all Americans—and only 13 percent of those under age 30—currently believes that “the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken literally, word for word,” according to the American Bible Society... Most Americans hold a more nuanced opinion of the Bible, viewing it as either an inspired text with historical errors or “just another book of teachings written by men.” Close to a majority believes “the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.” In a 2009 study by the Barna Group....more than 20 percent of self-proclaimed “born-again” Christians disagreed that the Bible “is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches.” Sixty percent of born-agains denied that Satan is real, and nearly 40 percent said they did not believe “Jesus lived a sinless life.” (Evangelicals Are Losing the Battle for the Bible. And They’re Just Fine with That, Jim Hinch, Los Angeles Review of Books)
Nihilism and the New Church
Many years ago, the highly respected theologian A.W. Tozer rebuked the New Church on this very point:
“Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.” (The theological corruption of the Evangelical Church, by Andrew S Kulikovsky, creation.com)
A true conception of God is fundamental, not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well, said Tozer. It is to worship,
“...what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse.” Indeed, “there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying Christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.”
Surely the most ignoble and erroneous idea about God is posited by evolutionary theists. Because modern Christians are very comfortable with natural science and the mythological idea that 13.72 billion years ago there was a bang and evolution by natural selection they uncritically embrace the teachings of theistic evolutionists such as John Dickson, Pope Francis, and Tim Keller, among others.
Keller firmly believes evolutionary science is beyond question and the Bible must be made to conform to it. In the article Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople, published by The Bio Logos Foundation, Keller explains why the Genesis account of creation is actually a poem that does not mean what it appears to mean in order that he can keep faith with evolutionary science while simultaneously retaining a version of God that he, Keller, makes the author of evolutionary processes. He concludes his article by advising Christians who are seeking to reconcile Scripture and evolution to be a ‘bigger tent’ than "either the anti-scientific religionists or the anti-religious scientists. Even though in this paper I argue for the importance of belief in a literal Adam and Eve, I have shown here that there are several ways to hold that and still believe in God using evolutionary biological processes.” (The New Calvinists)
Evolution is a philosophy of nihilism. It postulates an upside-down, Gnostic pagan anti-creation account of relentless change (meaninglessness). Relentless change negates the eternally unchanging One God in three Persons, unchanging Truth and Moral Law, man as God's image bearer, the fall, the two created sexes, and the need for a Savior, making evolution an antichrist philosophy from the pits of Hell.
Among false teachings operating at the foundation of theistic evolution are the following:
- The first human couple shared a common ancestor with the apes or the first humans were highly evolved hominids who were imparted with the image of what amounts to a deistic god shaped and controlled by evolutionary theists.
- Death, decay, and suffering are an integral part of the evolutionary processes ‘God’ used and guided, therefore, the Biblical teaching that physical death is a direct consequence and penalty of Adam’s sin is denied and the ‘God ‘of evolution is made responsible for millions of years of cruel suffering and death.
In his powerfully prophetic book, "Death in the City," Francis Schaeffer writes that the church has been infiltrated by nihilism (relativism) and synthesis, or joining of opposites, the goal of the Great Work performed by magicians from of old. By joining all opposites, especially the transcendent personal God who created all like and all things with His own creation, certain humans can then claim god-hood.
Moreover, when people turn away from the propositional Revelation of God in favor of an altered pseudo-theology such as nihilistic evolutionary theism, they enter into an impersonal world of their own invention in which they empower themselves with their own morally relative shifting values. This destroys the acceptability of their worship because their thoughts, words, and actions in altering the Revealed Word demonstrate unbelief in God and His revealed truth.
Jeremiah 5:22 tells us why people alter the Revealed Word, "Fear ye not me? saith the Lord...."
Because they do not fear the Lord, theological change-agents brazenly take their scissors to the Word of God, cutting out the parts that offend them and pasting in something more gratifying.
Their brazen actions however, expose their pride, ignorance and folly, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10, and where there is no true wisdom there is stupid pride, ignorance, confusion and folly.
The Rotten Fruit of Nihilism
Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., reports polls showing Catholics as relativistic, both in behavior and in belief, as Protestants. Sixty-two percent of Evangelicals say they disbelieve in any absolute or unchanging truths, and American Jews are significantly more relativistic and more secular than Gentiles. (A Refutation of Moral Relativism, Peter Kreeft)
Writing in agreement, Collin Garbarino, author of "Moral Relativists in the University: They Aren’t Who You Think They Are," argues that young conservatives arriving on campus are already as morally relative as liberals. As a consequence, the battle for conservatism was lost long before students ever met their first college professor. This is because freshmen arriving on campus are already moral relativists because their Christian and Jewish parents have impressed their own nihilism upon their children. (The Aquila Report, August 24, 2014)
In “What We Can’t Not Know,” a penetrating examination of the lost world of unchanging truths, moral absolutes, and morally-grounded common sense author J. Budzisewski, professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, writes that the pervasive darkness within both our churches and society requires lots of lies:
...the public relations of moral wrong require lies, and a lot of them…There are the lies about whether infidelity and promiscuity really hurt anyone. There are the lies about whether the living child is really alive, or really a child. Next come lies about the meaning of fairness, the nature of promises, and what the “committed gay relationship” is really like. Amid all of them is the lie about how hard it is to know what to do. (p. 195)
And then there are the lies about whether the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit or is really nothing more than a book of poetry, myths and morals written by superstitious goat-herders in our prescientific, pre-evolutionary past. Since this is the case, say relativists (liars), then why not say that God made and ignited a Cosmic Egg (Big Bang) which generated matter and energy. Then after billions of years of God-directed evolution eventuating in the suffering and death of millions of life-forms (making God the cause of death and evil), man inexplicably fell from grace even though God is the guilty party. If everyone feels that this version of events feels right then why not make it the indisputable account? After all, who can know truth?
As more and more people in every generation turn away from the eternally unchanging Word of God (John 16:6), the embodiment of the wisdom of God Who alone is the basis for eternally unchanging Truth and Moral Law, we are increasingly surrounded and suffocated by sophisticated liars and self-righteous hypocrites. Lacking discernment, the faithful unknowingly accept lies and are thereby manipulated by them.
The Eternal Damnation of Souls
In "The Poison of Subjectivism," C.S. Lewis warns that subjectivism (nihilism) will certainly end the human race and "damn our souls." Because Lewis was a faithful orthodox Christian he agreed with the fundamental teachings of his Lord and savior Jesus Christ and the Old Testament prophets that salvation presupposes sin and the need of repentance, therefore repentance logically presupposes objectively real Truth, Moral Law and need of a Savior. It follows that Jesus Christ, our Savior, did not die for our sovereign opinions.
In this light we can see that nihilism will surely damn our souls because just as it suppresses objective truth and reality, so it eliminates Moral Law, thereby trivializing repentance, imperiling salvation and ending the human race, not by flood as in the days of pre-flood nihilists, but by fire, reserved for the post-flood world and its "scientifically enlightened" nihilists.
Lewis sees farther than most, thus he argues that human kind will be ended because the entire human race is becoming increasingly Westernized, thereby relativized. The tragic irony here is that America, which at one time was a fortress of Christian light, is now the primary source of nihilism (demonic darkness) in the world today. This is because America's collapsing Christian denominations no longer defend Biblical infallibility, objective truth and moral law.
Os Guinness comments:
"....it is a point of fact that in many, if not most parts of the Western world, what was still left of the Christian foundations of the West have collapsed or are collapsing. The Christian church is on the defensive everywhere. The Christian faith is derided among the thought leaders of our societies, and now we are told it is being abandoned in droves—even if many of the defectors are not really atheists or even agnostic, but in limbo between the....halfway houses of 'believing without belonging' or still 'belonging without believing.'" (Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times, Os Guinness, p. 18)
Erwin Lutzer, the senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago agrees:
No nation has turned away from so much light in order to choose darkness. No nation has squandered as many opportunities as we have. We can only call on God for mercy, and if it pleases Him, He will come to our aid....if we humble ourselves, weeping for this nation, God may yet intervene and restore decency to this crazed world. Most of all, we should pray that millions would be converted and belong to God forever. People change their minds only when God changes their hearts. (Erwin W. Lutzer, Where Do We Go From Here? Hope and Direction in our Present Crisis)
The Day of the Lord—when?
As no man can see what lies beyond the horizon, said Guiness, no human can say when the Day of the Lord will be. So in the light of all of this bad news what are faithful Christians to do? For one thing, we need to see that all of the bad news we’ve been discussing lately—the darkness—actually affirms and makes the Good News, the Light, shine all the brighter. For another, we need to keep in mind that “evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.” (Psalm 37: 9)
Though the future is unknown it is absolutely sure because we can trust that our Lord will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Therefore, as faithful and orthodox believers we can and must search out every bit of nihilism in our own hearts and repent of it, trust in God, fear Him, seek His ways, stand on His Truth, and edify and comfort the saints and proclaim His gospel.
We are to be busy about our Holy Father’s business in making disciples and seeing the power of the gospel transform lives. We must trust in God and His gospel and challenge the darkness with the only hope there is in a sin-sick world that is passing away—the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the hope brought into being through the presence of the promised Holy Spirit (Romans 8:2-25); the future hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6); the redemption of the body and of the whole creation (Romans 8:23-25), the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-14), and the inheritance of the saints,…eternal life in Eden restored. (Titus 3:5-7).© Linda Kimball
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.