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The Error of Limiting God to Time and History

By Mark R. Rushdoony
September 12, 2005

Over 25 years ago a Reformed minister expressed to me his appreciation of my father’s writings and the ministry of Chalcedon. He said he agreed with most everything he had read, but he excepted postmillennialism. That was not surprising. I have met many people who noted their disagreement on some point. It was his reasoning that was memorable. Of the victory of God in time and history that postmillennialism represents, he said, “I just can’t see that happening in the world today.”

It was a hurried moment and we never again met, but I have never forgotten that comment because it represents a complete lack of faith in the transcendence of God over time and history. That pastor was walking by sight, not by faith. In doing so, he limited God.

We must not limit God to the scope of human vision because our view is limited by our creaturehood. Our understanding of history tends to be naturalistic and chronological.

A naturalistic view of history sees the determining forces of history as being entirely within history. It sees history as the study of men in relation to their society, climate, geography, and resources and their interaction with groups similarly affected. Man’s biology, thinking, and actions are seen as controlling history. Darwinian naturalism has made modern man averse from seeing any meaning, much less direction, from beyond man and his world.

A second aspect of our thinking is that it is necessarily chronological. God made us subject to time to such an extent that our thinking and activities are geared to time and history as a sequence of events that affect subsequent events.

As Christians who believe in the God of Scripture, we cannot limit our view of history to naturalistic and chronological events. First, God controls all natural events. Nature is God created and governed. God changes men, history, and natural processes when such change seems least probable or even impossible. God is not limited by natural events and processes; they are, in fact, limited by His government of them.

Moreover, God is not controlled by time. He created time (Gen. 1:5, 14–19), but He Himself is infinite. This means, in part, that He is not subject to any external limitation or determination. Time, as a measured or measurable period, is a limitation to which God is not subject.

Because God transcends time and nature, both prophesies and promises are possible. Fulfilled prophesy is to give us faith in who God really is and what His promises mean. It gives us faith to believe that not only will God fulfill all prophesy, but that His Word alone is determinative of that future as a certain. A God who transcends time and history is a God who determines time and history.

History is not naturalistic; it is not caused by the men and forces within it. History is God ordained, and time itself is part of His ordination. If we look around, as that pastor did, and fail to see the possibilities of what a transcendent God can do, it only represents our own lack of faith.

There is more to any point in time than we can see, for we cannot see the decree of God that governs it and determines its significance. There is more to every moment than the moment itself. The meaning of history, past, present, and future transcends the moment and those earthly things that surround it. History is more than a series of naturalistic events or a sequence of random events. It all has a purpose because it is all governed by a God of total meaning.


Topics: Biblical Law, Christian Reconstruction, Dominion, R. J. Rushdoony, Reformed Thought

Mark R. Rushdoony

Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.

He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.

In 1998 he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at www.chalcedon.edu

He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark Rushdoony lives in Vallecito, California, his home of 40 years with his wife of 42 years and his youngest son. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

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