If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8: 31-32)
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
Faith is the substance (understanding) of things hoped for, the proof of unseen acts. By faith those of old bore witness. By faith we understand that the eons were prepared by the word of God, such that things visible did not come from appearances. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal… (U.S. Declaration of Independence)
For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution. …In the course of the preceding observations, I have had an eye, my fellow citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth. (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1)
Heretofore, however, the United States benefited from the yeasty prevalence of the faith that reveres God and acknowledges the authority of His Word of Creation – “through which all things were made, and without which was nothing made that was made.” That Word gives rise to hope; hope that appeared in fleshly human form to affirm that “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). (Excerpt from my most recent WND column.)
All men are created equal? It is a bold assertion; one that, for the most part, appears to be contrary to fact? Is there some activity of human life in which some are not more gifted, in the performance of it, than others? Even just in outward appearance, in ways that require no more effort than to be observed by others, our minds prefer the looks of some to be superior to others, judging them accordingly. Could America’s founding generation have staked their all on a premise more questionable, in light of the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence, than this?
Yet before we reject the Declaration’s assertion of human equality, perhaps we should ask ourselves what it takes for us to recognize that some things are greater than others. It’s not enough to judge by appearances, since circumstances have a lot to do with how large or small things appear to be. A great mountain may seem small at a distance, even as some planets appeared to be just points of light until our spacecraft drew near enough to let us confirm by sight that they are larger than our globe. We can get a more exact idea of relative stature using actual measurements (instead of mere appearances) but, in that case, the measures must be conveyed in light of some applicable standard definitely known to us; one that remains equal to itself though other conditions change. In the end, isn’t it this unchanging standard, this being always the same as itself, that makes sense of the notion of equality?
This means, of course, that the most important thing about the Declaration’s assertion of equality is not its reference to “all men”, but its reference to God, their Creator. He is the one whose will measures their stature, even as it determines the conditions for their existence in every way. For only the one responsible for all possible conditions, and all the possible relations among them, has total knowledge of their significance, both in respect of one another, and of the whole (i.e., the “one” they form together), such that no aspect or dimension of their beings escapes being comprehended by it.
Because His will is equally the substance of each and every one, each somehow makes manifest the being, equal to itself, that comprehends them all. Thus God, as the measure of all things, informs them equally: distinguishing each from the other according to His will, which all depend on to the same degree, which is to say, absolutely. “All men are created equal” thus makes perfect sense in light of their being, severally and altogether, dependent on the will of their Creator.
Whether or not all Americans grasp this truth by way of reason, they all rely on it who, by word or deed profess the belief that each and every human being has some intrinsic worth, which all others are obliged to respect. They rely, therefore, on the conceptual reality of the Creator, even if they no longer acknowledge what they do. Yet, for how much longer will the social habit of that reliance endure against the corrosive effect of selfish individualism, swelled up with passions (particularly sensual lust, greed and vainglorious ambition)?
When our nation began, this corrosion was mitigated by respect for the demands of empirical science, respect not yet jaded from too many clear, though ambiguous, triumphs. But now those demands being swept aside by the fanciful notion that, as individuals, our human existence may be the pliable product of our own will and imagination. But in individuals, both these faculties ultimately depend on the evidence of things unseen, except by an eye that can never look into itself. Can the attribute of humanity really consist in fancies and fantasies that spring from such an elusive source? Though ever close at hand, it is never visible except in its effects.
But what sense does it make to speak of the intrinsic worth of something so radically resistant to any common standard or measurement? What can only be seen in effect, can only be measured in effect—so that there can be no standard by which to mediate the clashes between one ruling passion and another, except the raw and stubborn power with which they are asserted.
The people most deluded by this reliance on passionate identities and affections—rooted in the most secret places of the heart– are also those most likely to speak of “world peace” and “universal love” as their highest aspirations. Yet, as they banish the superintendence of the God from the precincts of humanity, they push human society ever more deeply into the chaos of competing wills. This competition must banish peace; and stoke our affections with such destructive energies that they produce a searing supernova, utterly atomizing the frame of human existence; banishing self-evident truth, and making any community based upon it literally unthinkable.
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