The origins of modernism go back to the early attacks on Genesis 1-11, and on the Mosaic law. These were seen as evidence of primitive myths and primitive law. The nineteenth century saw much interest in ancient legal codes; these supposedly showed common elements with Mosaic law, and thus it was held that Mosaic law was derivative, not original. Similarly, worldwide myths of creation, of a universal flood and the like, supposedly proved the mythological nature of the Biblical account; it apparently did not occur to these scholars that the Biblical account was true, and these others derivative.
We see today a similar development in evangelical and Reformed circles. Earlier, God's law was dropped as pertinent only to the Hebrew tribes and therefore "primitive" and rural in orientation. But law is the sovereign's will for his people, and to abandon God's law is to deny him sovereignty. It is thus no surprise that many circles within fundamentalism, having denied God's law, have denied any present Lordship to Jesus Christ. If he has now no law, he cannot be Lord. The logic of God's world has thus led many antinomians, if not virtually all, to deny Lordship to Jesus Christ.
In some evangelical and Reformed circles, as well as in other theological traditions, there is today a militant antimomianism and a hostility to the historicity of Genesis 1-11. Some churchmen express openly their contempt for those who defend Genesis chapters 1-11. Supposedly, they who accept the Scripture have naively read symbolic material as though it were history. Of course, the Biblical text speaks clearly as history, and it stresses the days of creation as actual 24-hour days.
Such an approach has great implications for theology and Biblical interpretation. If Genesis chapters 1-11 are not literal history, why not read the resurrection accounts as symbolic also? Certainly the virgin birth accounts read at times like poetry, so why not call them symbolism too?
The champions of the symbolic view are contemptuous of those who affirm the historicity of Genesis 1-11. Their arguments against Genesis 1-11 are vague and specious, but their scorn is very real. Having in effect adopted a non-Biblical view of God, they cannot concede veracity to his word. Their god is process, not the Creator.
God as process is basic to those who want evolution together with a religious faith that somehow retains the god-concept. Evolution is a process whose god is time. The alternative to the Biblical God is chance, and, very early, it was held that, given enough time, chance could accomplish anything. Julian Huxley and others have held this view; given enough time, anything can happen in a world of chance. If a great number of monkeys type on typewriters for an endless time, they would eventually reproduce all the works of Shakespeare. But this famous illustration is a farce. It presupposed numerous monkeys, typewriters, and warehouses full of paper which somehow are fed into the typewriters. Where did all these things come from? And what keeps the monkeys at the typewriters for ages, and from wrecking them?! This absurd illustration gives the lie to chance and to evolution. Of such ridiculous assumptions is the myth of evolution made.
The god of evolution is process; process requires billions of years, and it assumes much. Somehow, an original atom came into being, possessing in itself all the potentiality of this cosmos and yet unconscious, a god as great as the Biblical God but conveniently without consciousness or a court! What a convenient God for sinners!
Make no mistake about it. These pious churchmen who want us to take their more "intelligent" view of Genesis 1-11 are busy shifting gods on us! Not surprisingly, one influential Eastern Orthodox theologian who promoted such views was outspoken in his contempt for "Biblicism" and "Bibliolatry," but he promoted another god and a properly aesthetic church! He regarded Protestantism with its faith in Scripture as "primitive."
While these learned fools are busy damning us, we have the interesting fact in view that their outlook is one of loss, as people desert a faith that denies its own articles of religion and its charter, the Bible.
Remember too that many of the early church "fathers," being Greco-Roman in their outlook, found the Bible painfully "naive" for such intellectuals as themselves. The church grew in spite of them because there were enough "simple" people who took the word of God seriously and literally. The future does not belong to men who hate the living God, because their process-god can neither create nor save. Of course, the god the sinners want is one who lets them be creators, the architects of a new world order. The capitols of the world are full of such gods, and so too are the cities and towns. But must the churches be full of them also?
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.