If you have a short attention span, this is too long; don’t read it (TL;DR).
Sometimes it takes a bit of verbal struggle to gather loose ends. This post offers little that’s new in content. It’s just a refresh of things I’ve said before in a see-the-forest approach. Things I’ve seen lately provoke a smoldering anger at the perverted moral climate. If you can wade through this, maybe it will help some of you guard yourself against subtle attacks.
The net effect of the Bible as a written record of revelation offers something far bigger than the sum of its parts. There are two primary law covenants, and numerous references to lesser covenants, and then there’s biblical law, which is God’s whole covenant with Creation in the broadest sense. Then again, somewhere beyond the reaches of verbal revelation, there is God’s Law, which is summed up in the Person of Christ. You have to see that those two italicized terms refer to different things, yet with a tremendous overlap. Biblical law is what you can say about God’s Law, while God’s Law is the fundamental nature of reality itself, something your brain cannot perceive directly. Only your heart of conviction can handle God’s Law, because it’s alive and defies description (Hebrews 4:12).
It’s alive with the same Life that breathes in Creation around us. As fallen creatures, we are born excluded from a conscious inclusion in that Life. We have to get past our fallen nature, and that fallen nature is characterized as closing off the mind to the leadership of the heart. It’s placing your human faculties on the throne of moral decision and excluding God’s revelation. You can pretend you have God’s truth because your mind believes it can handle the written record of revelation, but without passing through the Flaming Sword — summed up in the image of confession and contrition, humility before the revelation of God — you can’t actually live the Life standing behind that record. You have to see through the words, and only your heart can do that. Only your heart can know God because He doesn’t address Himself to our human intellect without the priesthood of faith in the heart. And it’s all first person — you and God face to face. Aside from Christ, no other human can do it for you. If He hasn’t revealed Himself directly to you through your heart, you don’t know Him.
Fundamentalist Protestants claim that you cannot have revelation without the facts on which it rests. This turns revelation on its head. In essence, this is a truculent demand that God must first address Himself to the human mind before humans become accountable. “Prove it!” It’s a declaration that faith is not born from a direct touch of God, but is man-made on man’s own terms. It’s that Western thing of making concrete reality the basis for all knowing. It makes revelation stand in line and wait for a hearing on its claims. The West is the only civilization to make that a fundamental element in reality. Lots of humans took that route outside of the West — Bible History is loaded with it — and it was always recognized as a moral failure. But for Western Civilization it’s the self-conscious starting point for everything. The West worships the Forbidden Fruit, a symbol for rejecting the primacy of revelation one-on-one in favor of some imaginary “objective truth.” Folks, the demands of faith pay little heed to reason, are often contrary to reason, and always trump reason. Faith is “reason” on a wholly different level, so it comes across as entirely unreasonable from a cerebral approach.
I’ve written plenty on trying to parse how much of our current sad state of affairs is the result of the Fall (something that can be redeemed) versus how much is the result of divine design. There’s a ton of confusion about that arising from that perverted Western approach to the Bible. You may be aware that those who gave us the Enlightenment, the pinnacle of Western cultural development, were aiming at a fully conscious effort to sift through the cultural background of what they were given and come up with some improvements to society. The problem is that those great minds never stepped outside Western culture to make this critique. You cannot grasp what’s wrong with the West until you step outside of the West. Jesus was not a Western man, and was much more than merely a man of His world and times. If you have any idea about the world He lived in, you realize quickly that those who defend Western Civilization are anti-Christian.
At about the same time I was taking the massive workload of Oklahoma Baptist University’s dreaded Western Civilization course, I was also soaking up a lot of Ancient Hebrew culture in other courses. The exposure was limited and my knowledge is imperfect. However, even back in those mid-1970s, I sensed there was a very big disconnection there between the various classes I attended in that one building. I learned way more than my professors taught me, in a manner of speaking. That Ancient Hebrew stuff kept calling my name and I invested as much time as I could in familiarizing myself with it. From there I branched out into the wider Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cluster of civilizations (ranging from Egypt across to Persia) and saw what they all had in common. It started making sense. But even that was not enough; somewhere I caught onto the notion that there was a genuine biblical culture, and Hebrew culture was a specific instance of it. That’s when I realized that there was a broader biblical law and Moses was just an expression of it. It was within a context — historical, geographic and demographic — that time, that land, that people. But even if you understand all of that, you still cannot make that last leap without engaging a higher faculty that we call the heart, something only God can awaken fully. Those ANE cultures said that.
Even without all of that background, learning to live by the guidance of the heart-mind will make you far wiser than everyone around you who doesn’t. Your heart understands everything already; your intellect has to catch up. My background in all of that stuff was simply the route God chose for me to get where He wanted me, and I share it all gladly — it’s what God has given me to share. It’s behind all the stuff I blather about here on this blog. It’s how I understand the world around me. For example, I know exactly where the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) mindset comes from. Let me trace it for you.
We have that narrative from the Garden of Eden, where Eve listened to the Devil and made a choice to eat the Forbidden Fruit. Don’t get lost in the tree and fruit; see what’s behind those symbols. The symbols point to the essence, the real truth, whereas the words are just indicators. The “facts” don’t mean anything otherwise. Eve made a moral choice to usurp revelation and enthrone human capabilities. Adam stood by and allowed it. It wasn’t her decision to make, but Adam surrendered his divinely appointed duty. He failed to protect her from something outside her grasp. There were consequences; that’s the Curse of the Fall. However, it was not a part of the Curse that the woman was never equipped by God to take moral leadership. Throughout Scripture’s record we see the term “covering” used to refer to the male head of household. It’s because fig leaves aren’t enough; it requires restoring Adam to his obligation to take up the moral guardianship. You can characterize a woman’s place a lot of different ways, but in moral terms, men and women are not interchangeable when it comes to certain matters of moral decision in response to the Spirit of God.
Women do a lot of things that men cannot, and shouldn’t try, to do. Vice versa. Scripture flatly says that women are wired differently and can’t handle the full range of human moral necessity without a male covering. Men seldom handle their full moral obligations in life well without a woman. The attitude that men and women should not have different roles in human life is the result of a darkened mind that sees the difference as somehow an immoral attack on women. That attitude reflects the Original Sin in the Garden, the Forbidden Fruit. It’s not a question of superior endowment, but different endowment. The notion that the difference is a mere artifact of culture is blasphemy. If you go back into the ANE cultures, you’ll see how elevating that blasphemy to sacred doctrine is the root of vast stretches of human misery.
Look at pagan mythology. When the image of womanhood centers on her unique gender role as powerful in its own right, we see that it’s hard to object to what those myths indicate about the nature of things. In those few times when the image of womanhood was superior to that of manhood, it results in morally degrading perversion. Let’s be clear: The reason the Law of Moses demanded condemnation of the worship of Astarte is because, in the Land of Canaan where Israel ran into it, their particular mythology presented a perverted view of Astarte as someone who needed to encourage her cultic devotees to keep things from their menfolk, because men were not simply inept, but morally unworthy of certain things. It was divisive and created a secret order that presumed a form of moral superiority. You could, if you searched for it, find references to Astarte outside that part of the world that didn’t call for the cultic secrecy hidden from males. There were places in pagan mythology where Astarte was the image of a more noble lady.
We see some of this secretive superiority peeking from behind the scenes in the story Esther. At one point, this cultic perversion shows up in how women were asserting an inappropriate measure of independence from their men in noble households. In that Medo-Persian Empire, internal peace depended heavily on intermarriage between the Medes and Persians, and at times the imperial throne passed back and forth between Persian and Median families. But with this came some political baggage of marrying a woman who brought her own staff into the noble household and engaged in what amounts to espionage against her husband’s agenda. If she spoke a different native tongue, it made things doubly hard on her husband. So that’s the reason behind the imperial declaration that a man was lord and master in his own household. The arrogant response of Vashti to Ahasuerus is a very brief image of this particular social and political problem arising from a cultic religious problem (Esther 1). The political result was that a woman had to accept the religious and moral covering of her husband or risk losing everything. Some scholars have suggested that this whole thing arose from a cultic devotion to Ishtar that wasn’t entirely mainstream. Oddly enough, the emperor’s new name for Esther is just a different spelling for Ishtar. Maybe you’ll see the irony of how a Hebrew concubine restored honor to the name of a pagan goddess by acting as a real lady. She accomplished far more with her simple reverence than Vashti did with her entire noble staff. This is the essence of what set the Hebrew culture apart from the ambient pagan nations.
Now jump forward through the dim and foggy mists of historical references to another pagan goddess whose name is somewhat related to Ishtar, the European Oester. There are some similarities, but in the case of the latter, we see almost no record of anything approaching honor within the roots of Germanic tribal culture. From what I’ve seen, Oester has always, in all places, been the cultic Oester, the secretive goddess of feminine superiority. It’s almost as if she were some brand of Amazon from the start. Don’t get confused here: Oester is a prime goddess of the Germanic tribes that invaded Europe and destroyed Rome. Without their collision with the tottering Greco-Roman Civilization, there would never have been a Western Civilization. The Roman Church didn’t help at all, arising from Christian compromise with Greco-Roman intellectual culture and moral mythology. Her leadership compromised again by dressing up doctrine in Germanic tribal moral mythology. In this way the Church maintained her political survival and eventually gained dominance. It was a very worldly wise move, but it was politics, not faith. Faith was long gone.
Mariolatry is just Oester worship in a new dress. Feminism is just a modern expression of that same cultic perversion built into Western Civilization from the very foundation. And SJW culture is a direct expression of that cultic mythology.
Here’s a very current application, something that shows how modern social phenomena cannot escape fundamental moral reality. Reread the Curse in Genesis 3. Has anyone else noticed how the mainstream press acts like a smitten feminist damsel toward Trump’s Alpha Male? They can’t stand him and can’t stay away from him, because their conscious minds are entirely confused about what they really want and need. The presstitutes imagine they can tame him and make him over into their image of neutered metrosexuality, something they would actually despise anyway. They condemn his Alpha Male masculinity, and he “negs” them and ignores them when they try to get in the way. And they run along snapping at his ankles only because he won’t give them what they demand and they can’t leave him alone. In their combined subconscious minds, they are enthralled by his obvious power and influence. A woman who is secure in her genuine womanhood would capture him quickly. Whether or not she wanted to keep him is another matter.
Some things never change.