Even though sinful, God-hating man knows that everything is not right in the world, all men, as Van Til declares, unavoidably know God. They may not acknowledge this fact, but it is a fact nonetheless. How do they account for the manifold imperfections in the world? They can never afford to answer, at least consistently, "Because of man's sin against a Holy God." To the intelligent, covenant-breaking man, that explanation simply will not do, because it would put him face to face with his Maker whom he tries every waking moment of every day to avoid. Therefore, he creates false antitheses. That is, he explains the imperfections and brokenness and "out-of-kilterness" of the world by holding that something other than sin is at the root of it all.
For Marxists and many other socialists, the basic antithesis of the world is economic. This was the great burden of Marx's and Engels' writings. One reason Marxists so detest Christianity is because it declares that something other than economic factors is man's basic problem and need. For Marxists, the great war is between the proletariat (the workers) and the bourgeoisie (the capitalists, middle class, or owners of the means of production). In today's advanced free-market economies, these very expressions have almost lost their meaning, since "ownership of the means of production" is hard to pinpoint in cyberspace! Marxism thus loses much of its appeal in post-industrial societies. Nonetheless, the idea that economics is at the root of the antithesis was one of the great false antitheses in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and accounted for more misery, suffering, and death than almost any other factor.
To feminists, the antithesis is sexual. Some go so far as to suggest that men and women "live in different conceptual universes." The problem is not human sinfulness, they suggest, but males, who, since humanity first walked the earth, have been able to dominate and subjugate women in virtually every area of life. The feminist answer to this is to suggest that sexuality is not a category inherent in the human condition. Rather, we are all "genders." A gender is a social construction. For example, there may be several genders: homosexual, lesbian, transgender, and androgyny. According to the feminists, the reason we have male domination is because males have put themselves into a position to define gender. If we can change that, we will no longer have men and women, at least as traditionally understood, but rather a number of self-chosen genders. To feminists, man versus woman is the basic antithesis. Women must destroy this socially constructed male domination in order to achieve the perfect world.
To racialists, the basic antithesis among men is, of course, racial. This idea has a long history, going back even to the Biblical world. Many Jews of Jesus' day, for instance, not having properly understood the Old Testament prophets, thought of themselves as inherently superior because of their race (Jn. 8:33). After God included Gentiles on equal footing within Christ's church, breaking down the wall separating Jew from Gentile (Eph. 2:13-17), many Gentile Christians began to claim a racial superiority, or at least, damned the Jewish race. This fostered in some quarters a "Christian" anti-Semitism, which the Bible itself would never permit.
This racialism has been an acute problem with many races as long as races have inhabited God's earth, and it is pervasive today. The real problem, say the white supremacists, is the Blacks and the Jews who are polluting the "gene pool." Not so, say the Black Panthers; it's these Whites who have enslaved us for so long. No, you have both got it wrong, some Asians hold; it is we who are demonstrably superior intellectually and in almost every other way. To all these groups and many others the basic difference between men is racial. Some still attempt to mix this with Christianity: "Christian" racialists. The idea is that WASPS are destined by God to take dominion in the earth by dominating all other races. It is difficult to imagine a more repugnant, anti-Christian idea.
All of these alleged antitheses economic, sexual, and racial are false antitheses. The great antithesis between men is between covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers. What splits humanity in two is not economics, sexuality, or race, but religion. The great division among men is between those who, on one hand, worship and serve the creature and those who, on the other, worship and serve the Creator. This is the basic division in humanity. This is the great chasm that bisects all other apparent differences. Those of different economic standing, those of different sex, and those of different race and nation each stand on different sides of the Biblical antithesis. There are wealthy and middle income and poor Christians, as well as non-Christians; male and female Christians, as well as non-Christians; Black, Asian, and White Christians and non-Christians; and so on.
If sinful man can successfully redirect this antithesis to something else, he will joyfully do it. Why? Because it furnishes an alternative explanation for the world's sin.
Mankind's Great Problems Are Sin Problems
The great economic problems of the world are at root sin problems. Socialists and other coercive redistributionists who wish to use the arm of the state to commit legalized theft, or, on the other hand, materialistic capitalists who deny God's holy redistributionist plan tithes and offerings and who refuse to voluntarily help their poor brethren as the Bible demands are both sinners. The problem is not economics; it is sin.
Likewise, the sexual problems in the world are at root sin problems. Men refuse to assume their proper leadership role in the family, church, and elsewhere and forfeit their responsibility to women. Many men, on the other hand, abuse and otherwise mistreat women, and refuse to cherish their wives and protect and assist other women. Some women wish to arrogate to themselves roles of leadership that God never intended for them, not content with one of the greatest roles of all: rearing up godly children.
Racial problems are moreover sin problems. Racial pride in lineage or skin color is a particularly repellant sin. Racists hate each other and look upon each other with suspicion and malevolence because they have never been washed in the blood of the Lamb, for whom a great number "out of every kindred, and tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation" have been prepared (Rev. 5:8). If they were to abandon their evil racism, they would be forced to reckon with the evil of their own hearts.
Everything is wrong, A. W. Tozer once said, until God sets it right. He put it right supremely by Christ's atoning death and glorious resurrection and ascension.
This is the only way the basic antithesis between men can be overcome.
- P. Andrew Sandlin
P. Andrew Sandlin is a Christian minister, theologian, and author. He is the founder and president of the Center for Cultural Leadership in Coulterville, California. He was formerly president of the National Reform Association and executive vice president of the Chalcedon Foundation. He is a minister in the Fellowship of Mere Christianity.. He was formerly a pastor at Church of the Word in Painesville, Ohio (1984-1995) and Cornerstone Bible Church in Scotts Valley, California (2004-2014).