by R. J. Rushdoony
Man is inescapably religious. He may deny God, but all the categories of his life remain religious, and all are categories borrowed from the Triune God. Since the only world man lives in is the world God created, his thinking even in apostasy is inevitably conditioned and governed by a God-given framework. Men cannot escape that framework. They may deny God’s sovereignty, but they cannot stop believing in sovereignty; they merely transfer it to man or to the State. Total law and planning, i.e., predestination, is inescapable; denied to God, it is simply transferred to the scientific socialist State which predestines or totally governs and plans all things; if deity be denied to the God of Scripture, it merely reappears in man or the State. And if the church ceases proclaiming the Gospel, then religion does not perish; it reappears as politics or economics, and salvation continues to be offered to inescapably religious man.
Salvation is a necessity of man’s being, and the goal of salvation is new life and freedom. If salvation be not accepted in God through Christ, then it is accepted in man, or in an order of man such as the State.
From the beginning of history, God instituted a holy society, a City of God, indicating its foundations in the institution of sacrifice, by calling the line of Seth, Noah, Shem, and Abraham, instituting the law of Moses, and confirming the covenant in Christ.
But another society has been in history from the beginning also, the Society of Satan, whose foundation was stated by the Tempter to Eve, manifested in the fall, proclaimed at Babel, continuing long as mankind’s secret church and increasingly manifested openly.
Let us examine two important passages of Scripture with reference to this society. An exposition of Genesis 3:7-17 follows and Genesis 11:1-9 will be examined (later).
Genesis 3:7-17, in its main outlines, is simplicity itself. Con- fronted by God, Adam and Eve seek refuge in a feeble covering for their guilt and shame. The Hebrew word for cover, Kaphar, is also the word for atonement. Atonement is thus a covering for sin, and it can be an evasive covering, or the covering provided by God; it can be self-righteousness, or the righteousness of God in Christ. Man constantly seeks a covering for his guilt and shame in institutional facades, and one of the most popular of hiding places from God is the institutional church. Cultural anthropologists have divided societies in terms of guilt and shame cultures, and with reason. We can add that man seeks in institutional structures an “apron” or covering for his sin, and the deeper the guilt and shame the greater the structural development.
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