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Delineating Light from Darkness

Updated: 19 hours ago

The Origins of Glory

You may remember that in the beginning God spoke forth his creation. By his Mighty Word, he spoke all things heretofore invisible into existence. The very first thing to burst forth was light. Light is essential for displaying God's glory.


If light was his opening salvo, mankind was the pinnacle of his work—the pinnacle because God made man in his own image, but also because man was the final act in the weeklong creation sequence, his final stroke of power before declaring the following day a day of rest as an example for mankind. In this way, God's glory was revealed. Along with all-things-visible, man was dependent on God for his very existence, as well as every blessing that comes from life.


But there is also a light known as darkness. It is the light that fills minds and causes men to abandon Truth. It's a colorfully flashy light of greatest darkness. Once a man or woman is fully drawn to it, they will find themselves in the enemy's domain. The resulting darkness leaves the victim senseless and reliant on their new handlers. Since alternate truths (the worship of idols for example) have always been, just what attractive and shiny lies have ushered us to where we lie today? After all, Christianity was once a defining influence shaping Europe and the Americas. We will have to go back a number of years to find out.


Whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, the people of the first century were by and large religious. Religion remained a force in the West up and into modern times. Today, however, the majority of people are either silent or openly irreligious. Most men in the West today have been drawn to a secular faith known as secular humanism. How did we get here, and where exactly is here? Post-modern, Western society has largely moved away from it’s Judeo-Christian past. Some wonder how you can get people to open a Bible today, while others wonder why you would ever want to.



Jefferson’s New Bible

Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers, answered the first question by changing the Bible to make it more palatable to the thinkers of his day. He literally took up a tool (something akin to an exacto knife), and cut away every miracle from what was an otherwise Good Book. He let stay all the moral reasoning established through the law, as well as moral teachings pertaining to life and wisdom. Jefferson kept it all… except for the miracles. He discarded the miracles. Then he glued the remaining paragraphs and passages back onto the blank pages of his “improved” Bible. When he finished his work, it was made acceptable to the cultural elite of his day: men who were limited by their own imaginations, men who relied solely on the faculty of human reason.


Jefferson, despite his brilliance, was nothing more than a product of his day. The 17th to 19th centuries, as a period, are known as the Age of Reason. Scientific theories and untethered philosophical musings advanced across the landscape and began to tickle and tug the populace away from their grip on God’s revelation to mankind. Miracles, by nature, are out of the ordinary. They cannot be explained. They cannot be measured or recreated using natural or scientific laws. The biggest shift for Jefferson and the rest of the great thinkers of his day was one that no one seemed to notice. Through all of the 18th Century’s advances in thought, the resulting transition did neatly seat self upon what is still today God’s rightful throne. Christ alone has authority over human life and human affairs. He alone can overrule our hearts. As in the ancient past, however, the very blind tend not to see so well.


In 1876, on the occasion of our nation’s 100th birthday, every member of the United States Congress was gifted a handsomely bound and printed copy of Jefferson’s Bible. It wasn’t completely worthless, but it was worth so much less than the entirety of the precious full-revelation of God. Westerners today (especially politicians) now tend toward worshipping the gods of democracy instead. Jefferson’s deconstruction of the Bible would be part of the beginning of an end, part of a downward path familiar to men of ages past.


Nietzsche’s New Doctrine

Around the same time that Jefferson’s Bible was being celebrated, a German mind possessed by a one, Friedrich Nietzsche, came along and took the deconstruction a bit further… quite a bit further. Nietzsche, you see, is famous for overseeing the death of God (as if a created being could speak to some condition related to the Eternal ). The man’s hubris is legendary. The arrogance among thinkers and educators spread rapidly, and over each successive generation it has entered deeper and deeper into the inferior psyche of men.


To understand our current situation, we have to look at Nietzsche’s effect on modern and post-modern thought. To grasp where we are today and how we got here, we have to understand Friedrich’s philosophy of nihilism. Nihilism is essentially “to hold to the viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless.” Read that definition again. Consider its implications. Let that sink in. It really is helpful in explaining the world we live in today. Look around you. What Nietzsche sought to abolish through reason began to move men completely off the page of rational thought.


Today, the result of life’s “meaninglessness” has created for us a chaotic Post-Modern Society, a culture where rational thought has completely exited through an open window. Thanks in part to Nietzsche and those who continue to ascribe to his doctrine, all that remains today are the imaginary worlds and realities we’ve invented. Deconstruction—present at the founding of the American experiment—was a yeast working its way through the whole batch of dough. Nihilism journeyed so far from what Jefferson considered his principles, and yet it was Jefferson (among others) who had unwittingly propped opened the window from which all reason fled. So far did it flee that nihilism advanced a completely new doctrine, “a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths.” Great minds had fatefully boarded what would soon be a runaway train. With the heavy boxcar of Darwinism in tow, the West was picking up steam, and about to run off the rails.


Today in a ditch somewhere with lots of casualties, nihilism has broadened to include the need for taking drastic social action. This nihilism can be defined as “a doctrine or belief that maintains that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program or possibility.”


Here is where Satan has fully emerged from the woodwork. The man of faith in the present day sees so clearly the work of the one who seeks to kill, steal and destroy human lives. How did the deceiver move us so far from the Truth? Deception! The adversary’s brilliance is behind all the inner death and destruction we see today. The West has been drawn to it as a moth flys hot to the flame.

Nihilism [nai・uhl・ism]"a doctrine or belief that maintains that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program or possibility.”

As one author put it, the West is essentially committing suicide. She no longer ascribes to life the greatness of God, and as a result, God has allowed a more ruthless form of religion to enter, a merciless “truth” designed to discipline the foolish. God sends it “that they should seek [him], and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” (Acts 17:27)


God’s Timeless Gospel

So how do we get anyone to pick up and read the Bible today? The first thing we have to keep at the forefront is that God has made his Word foundational to Truth. We have to treat Holy Scripture as such. Bedrock Truth is not obtained through scientific observation or careful reasoning. If you don’t start with Truth, you certainly will not end with Truth. God does say, “Come, let us reason together;” but make no mistake: he is giving the invitation, he is asking the questions and he is supplying the answers. In light of the fact that he is very much alive, he knows the form of thought and understanding lying within our hearts.


Too often men indict God for not answering specifically enough or to our satisfaction. This just means that the answers are bound up in Him, and it is not ours to understand. It is ours to lean not on our own faculties, but to simply trust him in his superior wisdom and immense goodness. God has spoken, and people have rejected his Word. John's gospel reiterates in paraphrase truth taken from verse three of Psalm 109, “They hated me without reason." (see John 15:25)


And this leads us to an aspect of Truth that we should never be afraid to proclaim. The Word is a very personal aspect of a highly relational God. By His person and through his Spirit, Truth’s transfer is dependent on revelation, and not on reason. I am not referring to the final book of the Bible, but to the concept that God reveals Truth to us, absolute Truth. He has done so through the law and the prophets, then ultimately through Christ, himself, with everything made that much clearer through the apostle’s teaching. Jesus is alive and active today both in heaven where he reigns, as well as in human hearts where he abides by His Spirit.


The diagnostics are ready for review. Human society has a terminal condition. It's a condition that prevents thinking man from engaging in the struggle necessary to enter into Truth. Citizens of today are more likely than ever to dismiss God’s Testimony outright, and unfortunately, this leaves them only the lies still on the table with which to barter. From a reference known as 2 Corinthians 4:4, the One True God tells us that “The god of this age (meaning Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ...” Solid, unchanging Truth is available today. He's just not going to fit into neat little boxes prepackaged for human sensibilities. He's not going to be found compatible with any of the meaningless political and social causes the world champions today.


So we encourage you in this… to always keep this in mind: remember that our Father continues to be pleased to reveal the Son. Pray for people of peace and look for opportunities to open God’s Word with them, that at the hearing of his Gospel, they might receive Truth as one receives a guest into their home. The joy of salvation will accompany the meaning and purpose they will know and for which we were created.


🌵 Doug is Navigator staff assigned to military ministry in the Desert Southwest. He lives with his wife, Beth Ann, in Tucson, Arizona.


 


For meaningful Bible study and to anchor your heart to the promises of God, we recommend "To Stand and Not Be Moved: Strengthening Your Faith to Face Life's Challenges" by Fran Sciacca


Note: This resource is currently out of print, but "used like new" copies can be found on Amazon by clicking the title/link above as well as through other, online bookseller sites.


To order any of Fran Sciacca's other amazing Bible Study booklet titles, we encourge you to visit NavPress at this link.


Disclaimer: Please ignore the odd pairing of the cover image with the booklet title. When facing a destructive tornado, be sure to find a sturdy space or below-ground-shelter immediately!

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