Saturday, March 30, 2013

No King But Caesar

I love words. More specifically, the interplay of words and the ideas they portray.  I love especially word pictures: imagery, symbolism, types, figures, foreshadows, double meanings. I love how these can get a message across in a succinct yet powerful way, how they can hide a treasure of truth that is unnoticed on the surface and to the unobservant or uninterested, but is just waiting to be discovered by any who are willing to dig a little deeper, to stop and ponder for a moment.

This is a love that God seems to share. The Bible is simply packed with such treasures, a mother-lode of truth and light hidden just beneath a surface that often looks like barren desert. If we care enough to take some time to scratch the surface, to turn over rocks here and there, to peer into cracks and caves and shine our light into dark corners, we are often rewarded with a glint, a sparkle of light, or sometimes entire caverns packed full of dazzling jewels, gems of truth that more than reward us for our labor.

From cover to cover, the Bible is full of word pictures, of symbolism, of types and shadows, of layers upon layers of meaning tucked into simple or obscure passages. To read over these in haste and be on our way is to see only a drab gray cloth hanging forlornly on the wall. But as we stop and ponder, consider, look at the clues, add pieces together, we get glimpses of the glorious tapestry God has been weaving with our lives throughout history, a tapestry at once breathtakingly beautiful and astoundingly complex. It is a pattern so grand, so mysterious, as to be far beyond our ability to comprehend. Yet as we catch glimpses of it we cannot help but be awed by the glory, majesty, and wisdom of God. And from the little that we can understand, we get wisdom and insight into God’s working in our own lives; Truth ceases to be something dead and dormant in a book on the shelf or in history long forgotten and becomes alive and powerful in our own lives.

There are probably few passages in the entire Bible with as much imagery and meaning packed into so small a space as the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ trials, crucifixion, and resurrection. Just a straightforward reading is powerful and endlessly deep, since it is the climax of God’s great story, the focal point of all history, the most important event in the entire universe. Yet even here, a further reading brings to light many deeper meanings to already meaningful words and accounts. Besides telling the main story, the words are layered with imagery, with irony, with double meanings and shadow-references to grander themes.

Some of these are well known and easy to spot: the Good Shepherd, giving His life for the sheep, while at the same time being the sacrificial Lamb. The Kinsman-Redeemer, the Passover, the scapegoat, the Last Adam, and so on. There are many more that are maybe not as well-recognized: The Just Judge undergoing the most unjust trial in history; the Faithful and True witness being accused by false witnesses; the Great High Priest being called a fraud by a high priest unworthy of the position; the Light of the world being captured in darkness; the Truth being condemned by lies; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords being judged by petty, selfish kings; the Rightful King of Israel being labeled “king of the Jews” in mockery, and judged by an unworthy Jewish king; Barabbas, the “son of daddy” being chosen rather than the Son of the Father (some even believe that Barabbas’ first name was also Jesus); knees bowed before Him in mockery that will one day truly bow in involuntary acknowledgement of the King; a crown of thorns placed on His head as He takes upon Himself the curse of Adam; and the list goes on. Each one provides a deeper glimpse into the big picture, reveals a connection in the complex tapestry, drives the point home and makes it personal.

I find the interaction of Pilate with the Jews to be a particularly fascinating part of the accounts of Jesus’ trials. We tend to be rather hard on Pilate, and rightly so, for caving to the mob and letting an innocent person die. But I wonder if we can begin to rightly realize the pressure he was under, the nature of the situation he faced. He was an experienced Roman ruler in Palestine. He knew the Jews, only too well. He knew their fierce independence, their hostility and hatred of the foreign Romans. He knew their radical devotion to their ancient laws and traditions, and the explosive nature of their wrath when those were tampered with. He knew also their political cunning and ambition, and their determination to free themselves from Rome. He knew above all that they were dangerous and not to be trifled with or handled lightly. He had probably dealt before, swiftly and ruthlessly, with Jews trying to rise up and rid Palestine of Roman rule, and he was not at all endeared to them because of it.

Put yourself in his place, then, as he is awakened early one morning by an angry mob of Jews bringing before him one of their own. Their accusation against him? He claimed to be the king of the Jews. Imagine Pilate’s astonishment! Anyone who stood up against Rome was a hero in the eyes of the Jewish people. He was to be applauded and protected at all costs—and it was costly indeed for the Roman army to apprehend one of these rebels. Why would they bring such a hero to justice on their own? He probably knew right away that something was up. “Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me,” he told Jesus at one point. “What hast thou done?”  (John 18:35) A short examination of the suspect showed that he was not at all guilty of the type of crimes against Rome the Jewish leaders were claiming. Yet they obviously wanted him punished. What was his crime? Pilate endeavored to get to the bottom of the issue, but with little success. The mob wanted blood. Pilate’s sense of justice refused to give it to them without due cause.

In the midst of his uncertainty, Pilate seems to have latched onto, with a certain fascination (or was it delight?), the title the Jews had placed upon Jesus: King of the Jews.  He repeatedly used it in reference to Jesus when addressing the crowd, almost like he was rubbing it in to the Jews, using their own words to mock their thinly-veiled hypocrisy. Jesus himself had not made any claim to the actual Jewish throne; he seemed to have some weird notions of an unearthly kingdom instead. The Jews accused him of taking that title, yet themselves refused to acknowledge it. And above all, they insistently demanded his death. It just did not make sense.

Things suddenly started to get personal as they began to accuse Pilate of being unfaithful to Rome. “If thou let this man go,” the Jews cried out, “thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.” Protecting the sovereignty of Rome was a duty Pilate took pride in, and had carried out mercilessly before, and the Jews always hated him for it. Now they were reminding him of his duty, threateningly! This was no longer a game. Something needed to be done. The Jews would not be satisfied without blood, and he was determined not to give it to them unless absolutely necessary. But this was no longer about the prisoner. That Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing against Rome was clear to Pilate. It was also clear that he, Pilate himself, was now the one hanging in the balance. What price was he willing to pay for a clear conscience?

Let’s jump into the story at John 19:13

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called “the Pavement,” but in the Hebrew, “Gabbatha.”  And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, “Behold your King!”

But they cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.”

Pilate saith unto them, “Shall I crucify your King?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

 “We have no king but Caesar.”

What were the priests really saying? Under normal circumstances, I am sure the priests would have given their lives under extreme torture rather than making that statement. They hated Rome, they hated Caesar. They owed allegiance to no kingdom but the kingdom of Israel. To make such a statement was a betrayal of all they held dear, would have been considered treason were it uttered on any other occasion. Yet here they were forcefully proclaiming words that had to be utterly hateful to them, to be bitter in their mouths even as they uttered it.

This final answer of the chief priests seems to have been the last straw:

Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (John 19:16)

Pilate caved. The one who was so committed to justice gave in to the demands of the bloodthirsty crowd. The price of truth was for him too great. He failed the test of his life. And I believe it was this saying more than anything else that made Pilate realize that it was either his position, and quite possibly life, or Jesus’. It was these words that made him give up, betray truth and justice, and condemn innocent life.

But let’s take it one step further. The words were spoken in answer to a question from Pilate, “Shall I crucify your king?” In answering as they did, the chief priests sealed their rejection of Jesus as their king. They had ridiculed, opposed, and sought to discredit Him at every turn throughout His ministry, and now completed their rejection by condemning Him to death. They who claimed to love God and to obey His commandments utterly failed to recognize their Messiah, failed to yield their allegiance to the One who was indeed the King of the Jews in a much bigger and more real sense than they could have ever imagined. While proclaiming their love of the Father, they condemned the Son to death. In speaking words that they themselves considered treason against their nation, they also committed treason against their God by condemning to death His promised Messiah.

 “We have no king but Caesar!”

In proclaiming those words, they spoke more truth than they perhaps realized, exposing the reason for their rejection and declaring where their true allegiance lay. It was not to God. It was not to Moses. It was not to tradition. It was not even primarily to the kingdom of Israel or their own political power, as they claimed (John 11:48), though that would have been bad enough. At the heart of it, their allegiance was to no one but themselves, their own will, their own way. They rejected Jesus as their King not because His claims were not valid, but because the cost to them personally was too great. They refused to render allegiance to Him, to acknowledge Him as Lord, because His words were hateful to them, would cost them far too much. They were not willing to yield ownership of their lives over to someone else. Caesar was indeed their king, their only king. But not the Caesar that sat on the throne in Rome. Rather, the ”Caesar” that ruled in their hearts. From beginning to end, this was a refusal to allow the rightful King to rule on His rightful throne in their hearts. They wanted control of their own lives, and the lives of those under their influence. Anyone else who laid claim to that throne was guilty of treason and deserved death.

“We have no king but Caesar!”

With that one statement the Jews rejected their rightful King, swayed Pilate’s decision in favor of injustice, condemned Jesus to death, and exposed their allegiance to Self above all else. A sad picture indeed.

But that was then, that was there, that was them. What about us, here, now? The same question rings out to us each day: “Shall I crucify your King?” How do you answer? How do I answer? Who is your only king? Who sits on the throne? Jesus, the rightful King? Or “Caesar”? Realize that to give Jesus His rightful place on the throne of your heart is to dethrone “Caesar,” and hence to crucify yourself. As it was with the priests, so it is with you. You cannot hang on to control of your own life, on to governance of your own kingdom, and still have Jesus as your King. If you acknowledge Him as your King, there is no room left on the throne for you. As it was with Pilate, so it is with you. It’s either you or Jesus. One or the other will be “crucified.” Which will it be? What price are you willing to pay to stay on the throne? The choice facing the Jews and the choice facing Pilate was really one and the same: Self or Jesus on the throne? And it’s the same choice that you and I face today. The stakes are high, the results eternal. You who proclaim yourselves to be God’s people—Will you crucify your King? What is your honest reply?

“I have no king but…”?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Appreciating the Storm

Almost two years later, I'm still learning the lesson of the previous post, though in a slightly different way. "Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26) Why, indeed, are we so quick to panic when we lose our semblance of control, when circumstances seem set to overwhelm our futile efforts to save ourselves and keep the boat afloat? How is it that we so easily forget Who is in the boat, and why we are here in the first place? Do we really recognize, do we really know Who this is, asleep in the back of the boat? Despite all appearances to the contrary, our Keeper does not slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121) He is never absent or preoccupied, (1 Kings 18:27) but is an ever present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1) and his ears are open to our cry (Psalm 34:15). He is never taken by surprise, never overwhelmed, never out of control. Why then do we become afraid? Are we, like the disciples, surprised to witness His power to calm the storm, to experience the reality of His authority over all creation? We have chosen, as did the disciples, to follow Him, despite the inconveniences (Matthew 8:20), perhaps even at an inopportune time (21 - 22). But do we really trust the One we have chosen to follow, the One we call "Lord"? Does He really know what He is doing, can we really rely on Him in difficult circumstances? Laying aside the storm for a moment, does He even know where He is going, where He is taking us? Can we really trust our future to anyone besides ourselves? More to the point, can we put our hopes, our dreams, our very lives into the hands of One who is sleeping in the back of the boat when we most need Him up front?

How quickly we forget who it is that should lead and who follow; who is servant and who is Lord. We are here for His purpose, not He for ours. This is His plan, His purpose, His journey, His ocean, His boat. It is not our place to navigate or to row. We are His. He leads. He steers. We simply follow. He made us. He called us. He loves us. He has His plan for us. Whether in storm or calm, following charted course or launching into the dim unknown, we do not need to know, we do not need to understand, we do not need to see, we do not need to have control. We need simply to trust, and not be afraid. Far more than merely surviving the storms, we will then be able to truly appreciate them--maybe even enjoy the ride!

Further thoughts...

Think of the extreme sport that you always wanted to try but are wise enough to abstain from. What if Jesus came along and did it with you? Imagine the thrill of abandoning yourself completely to the experience without fearing the risks!

Welcome to the Christian life! Only this time, you're going along with Jesus, not the other way around. If He invites you to go skydiving, why in the world would you stay in the plane?! If only I could learn to look at life that way! Dear God, speak peace into the storms of doubt that trouble my soul, that I may learn to overcome fear with faith and be able to truly enjoy the ride.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unnecessary Timidity

"Why are you so timid?" He asked; "have you still no faith?"
-Mark 4:40, WNT

Why, indeed, are we so timid? The world boldly rushes ahead having no foundation, no support, no Rearguard, no Shield, no Defender, no Rock, no Fortress. We have all of that and more, and yet we hang back. Have we forgotten Whom we serve? Have we become so used to breaking bread with Him that we've forgotten He made and controls the entire universe? If the almighty, eternal God says, "Go!", what could there possibly be in all the universe that could stop us—aside from our lack of faith? No wonder God grieves as He does over unbelief! "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Long vacation...

Well, it's been a while since this blog was last updated; almost two years, in fact. I hope to get it going again sometime, as my schedule allows, but I would not advise anyone to hold their breath. In the meantime, there are a lot of important events occurring around the globe on a daily basis, so keep your armor on and your belt of truth cinched tightly. We can't afford to let down our guard or be caught by surprise. "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth..." Ephesians 6:14

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Human-Animal Embryos: Crossing the Great Divide?

Scientists in Britain have recently created human-animal embryos for the purpose of medical and scientific experimentation.1 Soon after, Parliament voted to give them a green light to continue with such experiments, despite public, and especially religious, opposition.2 My initial reaction to such news was shock and dismay. How could they do such a thing? Since then I've done some more research on what is actually going on, and now I'm not quite sure what to think, especially since different people are making conflicting (and often confusing) claims.

The procedure itself seems to be quite similar to cloning, except that it involves replacing the nucleus of an animal egg cell with the nucleus from a human cell. The resulting combination is then stimulated to start growing and dividing. The result is an embryo with human nuclear DNA and animal mitochondrial DNA. This is not a true hybrid, since it does not involve a combination of nuclear DNA from two organisms, sharing of chromosomes, etc.3 Eventually, the nuclear DNA takes charge the the embryo becomes "mostly" human.

The purpose isn't to produce hybrid human/animal monsters, since the embryo is unlikely to live more than a few days. In fact, British law does not allow the embryos to be developed longer than 14 days, and forbids them from being implanted in humans or animals. Rather, scientists hope to be able to harvest stem cells from the embryos to aid in research to produce treatments or cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

What are Christians to think about all this? Is this a "sanctity of life" issue? What about the human-animal hybrid angle? What about the potential to find cures for such dreaded diseases? I don't know that I have a solid answer for all aspects of this issue yet, so please bear with me as I think through this aloud here.

I think the most crucial question we can ask, the most important issue to decide, is whether or not this "embryo" is a human being with a soul. I'm not a doctor or a geneticist, so I don't know what, exactly, the procedure entails. From what I have read, it seems like it's the nucleus of an adult cell (such as a skin cell) that is implanted in the animal egg cell. Pro-life Christians believe that a person begins at conception, but can this process be called conception?

If the embryo is indeed a human being, it is created in the image of God, and to mix human with animal in such a way violates the natural order God set up at creation. Furthermore, to create such embryos purely for the sake of experimentation and to deliberately destroy their lives once they have served their purpose is nothing short of brutal murder. It is, if possible, even more ghastly than the horror of abortion, since it involves the creation of life for the express purpose of destruction. No amount of cures would justify such inhuman behavior.

If, however, the embryo is merely a combination of human and animal cells, then the answer is not quite as clear. Humans have often made use of animal cells and tissues for numerous medical procedures, and have genetically modified animals with human genes, etc. for purposes of experimentation. The question then becomes, where do we draw the line between what types of research are allowed and what types should be avoided?

I don't intend to answer that question fully here, but I would like to mention several concerns I have relating to this particular issue. The first one could be called a "slippery slope" argument. I get the distinct impression that scientists are pushing the limits hard, and will go as far as the public allows them (and quite possibly farther, without the public's knowledge or consent). Not to say that scientists are unethical in general, or that there is some conspiracy going on. But (and this is another point of concern) we need to remember that scientists as a group are far more accepting of evolutionary theory than the general public is. They believe that humans are nothing more than highly evolved animals, and that as such there is no real difference between them. They do not recognize humans as made in the image of God, and as possessing a dignity above that of animals. There is therefore little reason why they should not engage in research and experimentation that violates that dignity or bridges that gap, especially if it promises good for the human race as a whole.

Which brings us to another concern, namely the promises made about such research. I personally think it is very misleading and unethical to use such optimistic promises to win the support of the public for something that is not guaranteed to deliver on those promises. Especially when the promises play a large part in helping people overcome their perfectly valid ethical concerns. To promise cures for currently incurable diseases as the result of such research not only portrays as certain something that is far from sure, it also sets up people with great expectations that will most likely not be met. I also find it disturbing that scientists would mislead people as to the nature of the "cybrids", claiming a far greater percentage as "human" than the actual conditions warrant.4 Why would objective scientists doing valid research need to resort to empty promises and misleading terminology to gain the acceptance and permission of society? Something does not seem quite right.

Which brings me to two more of my concerns, namely the great trust the public places in scientists and their research, and their willingness to put aside valid ethical concerns as long as they believe that people will benefit from it. It is rather revealing to read through the comments on some of the articles that discuss the issue.1 People who oppose or disagree with the research are accused of standing in the way of science and hindering progress. Other people come across as having the attitude, "who cares what you have to do or who gets hurt, as long as my loved one can get access to a cure." While accusing others of being more concerned about a "blob of cells" than a person suffering from some incurable disease, they seem to think that the diseased person deserves a cure, even if it takes the death of another human being to get it. And the whole thing is, they are basing such statements, such faith, on a promise, and an empty promise at that.

It is questionable whether any cure will be found based on this research, and even more so that it will happen in the near future.4 At the same time, there are other areas of research that are far more promising, without the ethical concerns or scientific difficulties involved. Some of them have already provided cures, such as adult stem cells. If the real concern were for scientific progress and medical breakthroughs, such research should gain top priority in funding and public support. But much of the scientific community seems more intent on challenging the ethical and religious standards of society and pushing the edge in the name of science than actually helping people.

So, even though I am not quite clear on whether such embryos should be considered human beings, I still think such research is dangerous and unnecessary. Any way you look at it, there is a clear divide between humans and animals, one that should not be bridged or tampered with lightly.5

1. Mark Henderson; "'We have created human-animal embryos already', say British team"; The Times; April 2, 2008.

2. "Britain allows human-animal embryo research"; News; May 19, 2008.

3. Don Batten; "Human-animal Hybrids?"; Creation Ministries International; August 29, 2001.

4. "Cloned human-animal hybrid embryos"; Human Genetics Alert.

5. See the article, "Of mice and men—and the monsters in-between" by Alex Williams, for some general guidelines relating to this issue, from a Christian perspective.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trivial Pursuits

"Songs That Answer Questions"

I don’t want to spend my time, writing songs to answer questions that nobody’s even asking, anyhow. When the house is burning to the ground, there’s just no time to stand around, arranging all the pictures on the wall. I want to spend my life giving folks the living water, and the Bread of Life they just can’t live without...

I don’t want to spend my time praying prayers bombarding heaven with requests to rain down fire on saints who care. In our methods we may differ, but if Christ the Lord we live for, may we not forget the enemy’s out there...

These are pieces of a song that has been running through my mind lately. I was trying to find the lyrics, but they don't seem to be available anywhere, so I transcribed it. The song was written by Bill Gaither.

While some of the teaching might be questionable, depending on how you understand what he is saying, the picture he paints has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. Who in the world would mess around arranging pictures when their house is burning down?! Either do something useful or get out!

Yet strangely, a lot of Christians, myself too often included, seem remarkably content to bury themselves in trivial pursuits while God's House is being attacked from without and divided from within.

I'm reminded of another stark image that is sometimes used to remind us of our proper priorities concerning evangelism. This one is of people sitting on a hillside making daisy chains while all around them others walk unheedingly over the edge of a cliff.

What do we think we're doing? What do I think I'm doing? Is God going to be happy with that kind of behavior and attitude? I think not! And we all know that. So why do we persist in fiddling with the decorations while people perish around us? God help us!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

ID: The Anonymous Designer

The theory of evolution is under attack! In recent years, the Intelligent Design (ID) movement has gained much momentum in challenging Darwin's theory and attracted quite a bit of media attention, drawing heavy fire from committed evolutionists in the process. Perhaps nowhere is the controversy more evident than in the school board battles that have arisen across the country over the permissibility of mentioning ID as a scientific alternative to evolution in the public school classroom. One such controversy occurred in Kansas in 2005.

"Teaching Origins Objectively"1 is a very condensed video record of over twenty hours of testimony on the validity of ID as a scientific alternative to Darwinism. Twenty-three experts in fields of science and education testified before the Kansas State Board of Education, attempting to show that there is a controversy, that there are scientific problems with evolutionary theory, and that those problems should be taught in the classroom as part of the students' science education.

Though I was already familiar with the ID movement and some of the main proponents of it, seeing some of the faces and hearing some of the stories of some of the less well-known players put it in a different, more personal light. I'm sure several of them risked their careers or reputations by testifying, but they were willing to take that risk for the sake of exposing the problems with evolutionary theory and also the discrimination faced by scientists and educators who dare to question Darwin.

Creationists can sympathise with those in the ID movement who face such discrimination, especially when their objections are falsely painted as being purely religious and they are falsely accused of having no scientific basis for their arguments. The truth is, while most creationists would consider those in the ID movement as allies, and applaud their accomplishments, Intelligent Design is not creationism, no matter how often the media tries to portray them as the "new creationism" or "creationism revamped."

Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion; it argues for a designer purely from science and common sense, without attempting to identify the designer. This leaves it open for the designer to be God, Allah, the ancient Greek gods, or whoever or whatever you desire him or she or it or them to be. For that reason, many creationists distance themselves from the movement. They argue that while ID is commendable for challenging Darwin, it does not go far enough. Failing to identify the designer with the Creator God of the Bible is not consistent with the goals and ideals of creationists.

Creationists strive to start from the Bible and build their entire understanding of the world around them based on that foundation. ID starts with science, and while it does present independent confirmation of the creationist position, it does not inherently share the same foundation. Of course, many Christians and creationists are involved in the movement, and some of the leaders would personally believe that the designer is the God of the Bible; but the theory itself leaves that open.

I personally believe that this is very dangerous, particularly in our post-modern society where atheistic naturalism is increasingly being abandoned in favor of New Age ideas and Eastern mysticism.2 More and more people are rejecting the idea that matter is all that exists, and embracing the idea of a spirit world, other dimensions, spirit guides, etc. An idea that attacks atheistic naturalism without strongly supporting Biblical creation at the same time could easily be adopted and modified to fit those New Age beliefs.

It is manifestly evident that Satan and his forces are deeply involved in New Age type beliefs. They can be expected to take an idea like ID and use it to their advantage, causing even greater deception than outright atheism does. Atheistic naturalism stresses logic, proof, and science. Since these are matters of objective truth, and since all truth is consistent with the Bible, atheism can be addressed on its own terms. Though an atheist believes that he is right and the Christian is wrong, he at least recognizes that it is either one or the other. New Age mysticism, on the other hand, focuses on feelings and personal experience, which cannot be objectively analyzed. To him, all truth is relative, hence he would say that both of us can be right, even though we hold completely different and contradictory beliefs. It is hard to logically expose error to someone with such a mindset.

Decades ago, C. S. Lewis wrote, in The Screwtape Letters (speaking through the Demon Screwtape),
"I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us [demons] (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy [God]."3

Intelligent Design could easily play a significant role in that transition. Indeed, there are people who claim that alien civilizations were our "intelligent designers." There is even a group that advertises its teachings as "intelligent design for atheists."4 It is interesting to note that the group is one of the many "UFO cults" that have arisen in recent years. Particularly interesting, considering the strong connection between UFO beliefs and demonic deception, as I've written about before.5

Satan's ultimate goal is to get as much of humanity as he can to worship him instead of God. He wanted to usurp God from the very beginning, and has been trying to ever since. While atheism is obviously a tool of Satan, it has the obvious drawback, from his standpoint, that atheists do not believe in Satan either. Yet perhaps Satan found it expedient to use atheistic naturalism as an intermediate tool to rid man of the notions of God and the supernatural, so he could eventually plant seeds of belief in himself (though perhaps under a different, more attractive name) while at the same time excluding belief in God. Hence the rise of post-modernism, with its spiritual and occultic emphases. Once you throw intelligent design into the mix, you end up with Screwtapes' recipe for deception: "Intelligent Design for atheists."

I fear Bible-believing Christians are being placed in a difficult situation. Yes, ID is a powerful ally against one of the most formidable foes we face today. But could ID itself be an even more formidable foe we will have to face tomorrow? I fear we are being put in a similar position to the Allies in World War II: allying with communism to fight fascism, befriending a greater evil to destroy a lesser one.

So while we applaud ID for its courage to stand up to Darwinism, and rejoice in the victories gained, let us be very careful in our dealings with the theory. (And perhaps I should make it clear here that I am not talking about the people involved in the ID movement but rather about the idea itself.) Let us take care that the idea used to depose the old enemy is not used to support a newer, stronger enemy. And let us always make sure to let the glory go to whom it belongs, the Almighty Creator God of the Bible, the Intelligent Designer.

1. The DVD can be found on

2. See, for instance, the article
here, or the website Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet for more information. Kjos Ministries also has some good information on this topic.

3. C.S.Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1961), 33.

4. The Raelian Movement.

5. See "SETI-The Search For a New God" and "ET: Nothing New Under the Sun."