The Power To Kill - RR272J18

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Power to Kill
Course: Course - Doctrine of Authority
Subject: Subject:Political Studies/Doctrinal Studies
Lesson#: 18
Length: 0:32:47
TapeCode: RR272J18
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Doctrine of Authority.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Let us worship God. Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name, for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations. Let us pray. O Lord our God, unto Whom all honor and glory belong. We come into Thy presence rejoicing in Thy mercies—past, present, and future. We thank Thee that we live and move, and have our being in Thee; that Thou art our God, and Thou who hast given His only Begotten Son to die for us will do yet more and care for us. Give us grace, therefore, so to walk day by day, that in confidence in Thy mercies, we may ever be faithful, ever zealous in Thy service, ever joyful in Thy care. Bless us to this end. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our scripture is in Deuteronomy, the 32nd chapter, the 29th verse; our subject: the power to kill. Deuteronomy 32:39—Deuteronomy 32:29, er, 39, excuse me. “See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” This statement is one which we encounter in several forms in scripture. In Isaiah 45:18, God declares, “There is no god with me. I am the Lord; and there is none else.” Again, in the 21st verse of the same chapter, “There is no god else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.” [00:03:14]

God declares emphatically that He only is God, that...[edit]

God declares emphatically that He only is God, that the issues of life and death are ultimately and essentially in His hands. Now this is a necessary emphasis, because original sin is man’s desire to be his own god, to say, “My will be done, not God’s.” Humanism, of course, is the logical development of this presupposition. The pagan, as well as the modern state represent the institutionalization of man’s desire to be his own god. But man cannot create life. He has dreamed about this more than once; and today, of course, we have regularly announcements that the scientists have taken a major step towards the creation of life; and all these claims are exaggerations and are fallacious. Man has not been able to create life. He dreams of it, because it is his way of playing God; but what he can do is the other half of the equation—to kill. And so, he plays God by killing. The more humanistic a state, the more murderous it is. From the French Revolution on, the state has become an agency of mass murder. [00:05:14]

What George Orwell in ...[edit]

What George Orwell in 1984 described was the reality of the nature of the modern state: he simply carried it to its logical worldwide implications. In 1984, the vision is ultimately of a boot stamping on a human face forever; man playing God in the only way he can do it—murderously. We are told by more than a few people who have escaped from the Soviet Union of the very great delight of torturers in torturing, in playing God. In one account after another, we have horrifying illustrations of this exercise of power. As the Earl of Gloucester says in King Lear, “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.”

Now, this is fallen man’s common idea of divine power: God uses power to enjoy its exercise over helpless creatures. Isabella in Measure for Measure said of man’s dream of power, “Could great men thunder as Jove himself does, Jove would ne’er be quiet, for every pelting, petty officer would use his heaven for thunder. Nothing but thunder! Merciful heaven, Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt split’st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak and the soft myrtle: but man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assured, his glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep.” [00:07:42]

Fallen man, thus, dreams of playing God...[edit]

Fallen man, thus, dreams of playing God; and he sees god-like power as meaning torturing people, killing them finally. Moreover, when men cannot play God by killing others, they do everything that falls short of killing: defaming, degrading, polluting. One consequence is the popularity among such people of scatology. Scatology is the use of filthy language that has reference to urine and feces; and in scatology, people pour out, as it were, verbally urine and feces upon people, and will use language that so indicates it. Our society is increasingly scatological and murderous in its entertainment. TV and film plots seek to dirty-up and to kill, to defame, to degrade biblical standards. Unless delivered by God, the goal of all such is to have total power over us and to claim: “neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” [00:09:32]

It is interesting that, at least...[edit]

It is interesting that, at least—at least, two of our recent presidents have been so addicted to scatology that it has been painful for people to be with them, even for a few minutes. Since to play God is evil—it is original sin—the course of humanism has only one direction. Humanism begins by exalting man, and saying man is the ultimate value; but, every man is his own god, and the logic of this is what led Sartre to say that, for him, God was not a problem. He was not interested in God. His passion was to be God. Therefore, what was his problem: his neighbor, because if I am God, and my neighbor claims to be God, then for me, he must be the devil. And so, existentialism led to the total warfare of man against man. Community became a problem, as it is for modern society. In a society of gods, there is no community, because all are at war, one with the other.

Then, in every sphere of life, the goal is to exercise power over others, to degrade them, to play God by degrading them; and, ultimately, to kill them. Thus, sex is used for aggressive purposes. The popular words for the sex act all have the connotation of degrading, of doing in somebody. Sex has become, for humanism, disguised aggression. Politics is supposed to promote the public welfare, and every politician gets up and affects a zeal for the public welfare. But politics becomes, in the process, more and more a power gain with all but a few. As humanists, their logical goal is to be God, to play at being God by exercising power over others. [00:12:27]

Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police under...[edit]

Lavrentiy Beria, the head of the secret police under Stalin, was a man who understood this very clearly. He was under no illusions about man—about man, the sinner. He knew that the goal of everybody was power over others; and he gained power by self-consciously licking Stalin’s boots, by doing everything to make himself Stalin’s creature. He despised Stalin. Privately, he would speak about him as stupid, as a rude bore; and he would speak to his close associates about the fact that the minute you walked into the room where Stalin was, you could smell him he was so unwashed; and his feet, in particular, were particularly bad. And yet, when he walked in, he was the most obsequious and humble character imaginable. He knew what he wanted and required of all those under him, and so Beria gave the same to Stalin; and he pleased Stalin, as no one else. Beria’s personal delight was arresting and raping in the most savage way possible very, very young girls. His joy was to smash and to destroy them, and to see their grief, their horror. Some would leave when they were released and commit suicide—jump into the river. This did not hurt him; it gave him an additional delight. Stalin, in turn, knew this about Beria, and he would ask for reports on how many girls Beria had raped, and what he had done with them, and what had happened to the girl; and he took a delight, because he knew this what he, himself, liked to do. This is humanism come to fruition; and hence, murderous; hence, given to a desire to pollute, to degrade, and to kill. [00:15:26]

In the history of Israel, the meaning of Deuteronomy...[edit]

In the history of Israel, the meaning of Deuteronomy 32:39 was fully appreciated. Men apart from the Lord are dangerous, and men expect to play God. We have an echo, by the way, of this verse in II Kings 5:7; when Naaman of Syria came to the king of Israel to be healed of his leprosy, the king said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive?” (quoting Deuteronomy 32:39). “It was then that the prophet came forward, and with the power of God, healed Naaman.” Healing is a religious discipline, and health is akin to salvation; but the reverse side, to kill. The power to make alive is the power to create, to regenerate, to save; and the power to kill is the power to reprobate, to send to hell. And this is why the modern state increasingly consigns its people to hell. It creates a hell on earth. The more logically humanistic, the more logical its development of society into a hell on earth. Behind the iron curtain, we see this. The authority to kill in a godly state is in terms of God’s Law for a healing purpose in society; but men want to kill on autonomous grounds. They want to create a paradise on earth for themselves, by the elimination of their enemies. [00:17:45]

The early church saw the seriousness of murder...[edit]

The early church saw the seriousness of murder. They put it high up in the category of sins, at the top. Cyprian said that murder, adultery, and fraud were the gravest offenses: murder, because it destroys human life; adultery because it destroys the basic institution, the family; and fraud, because it treats people as things to be used. Pacianas and Augustine said murder, fornication, and idolatry were the three most serious for like reasons. Killing a man is serious, because man is made in God’s image. Man is created, as Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10, and Genesis 1:26 tell us, in the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, holiness, and with dominion. But men, fallen men, and their hatred of God strike out at God’s image bearer, man. This is their way of trying to kill God. [00:19:10]

Thus, to kill gives to the ungodly a double advantage...[edit]

Thus, to kill gives to the ungodly a double advantage. First, it enables fallen man to play God, to determine the issues of death, to have people screaming and begging for mercy, and not to give it. It is their idea of what playing God means. And second, it enables them to strike against God by destroying his image bearer. But there is a third factor: power is equated with authority. There is such an identification as we have seen of power and authority in God: only in God are the two one and the same; and hence, the word that is used is exousia, which means both power and authority. But as men deny God, they seek to replace the loss of moral force—the loss of godly authority—with boot power. And so, the humanistic state becomes increasingly brutal and murderous, as does also humanistic man in the streets. When you have a godly community—because the great gift of God is life—men seek to further life in the community. They develop community. They develop ties that bind them one to another that are life-giving, life-furthering. They seek to help one another. [00:21:12]

I read a couple of days ago of a group in the Plains...[edit]

I read a couple of days ago of a group in the Plains States, a Catholic group, but a lay group, and anyone is welcome to join, that has one purpose: to meet needs in the community in the spirit of Christ. As a result, they have been very effective in helping those who are in critical need, helping with truckloads of food, helping with personal services in any way possible. And what’s the net result of it? They have been attacked in the press and by public officials as probably some kind of wild cult; and what are they doing, messing in with what is the federal and the state government’s function—the alleviation of human need? This should not surprise us. We are beginning to see this kind of attack on the life-giving function of Christian organizations all over the country, because humanism knows only the power to kill, the power to degrade, the power to make people dependent, which is a way of saying, “I am God over you.” And, as a result, it is increasingly hostile to the life-giving forces in any community. It works to undermine them, to destroy them, and to defame them. [00:23:10]

As a result, we see increasingly the growth of a murderous...[edit]

As a result, we see increasingly the growth of a murderous power in the streets and in civil government. It’s the logic of humanism. It is the logic of any departure from God, the Lord. The only rightful power and authority in all creation is that of the Triune God. The departure of men from God is their departure from life, itself. “He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death,” thus saith the Lord.

Let us pray. Thy word, O Lord, is truth; and Thou, alone, art the Light, the life-giving power and force in all creation. Make us, O Lord, Thy servants, that we might be a means of life and light to our generation; that we might be a force against the powers of darkness as they work death through civil government and in the streets of our country. O Lord our God, Thou hast called Thy people to be Thy servants, Thine instruments. Have mercy upon us for falling short of our calling. And revive Thy church, and make it great and effectual in these troubled days. In Jesus’ name. Amen. [00:25:26]

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?...[edit]

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Questioner] Is it possible that the groups that are against capital punishment, but not against the crimes that capital punishment subdues, are actually covering mass slaughter?

[Rushdoony] A very good question. Why are not these groups against killing unborn babies? Why do they not make a like protest against what has been happening in Red China and Red Russia? The answer is they’re very silent on those issues. They have a sympathy for criminals; but not for innocent, unborn babies; or for the victims of communism. Humanism seems to like the power to take life, and to declare that, “we will establish our moral standards and make our judgments in terms of them.” As a result, they ask us to bleed for baby seals, but not for unborn babies. There’s a monstrous perversion of values in the attitude of humanists.


[Questioner] Are they self-consciously aware of that dichotomy?

[Rushdoony] They self-consciously what?

[Questioner] Are they self-consciously aware of that dichotomy, of the contradiction?

[Rushdoony] It is pointed out to them regularly, whenever there is a debate; but what their answer usually is, is that, “Well, we have a critical problem of overpopulation, so we’re trying to improve the quality of life for those who live. We are funding, after all, are the not, the aborting of all beyond the first baby in Red China.” U.S. funds are going towards that, which means we favor it, ultimately, here. All this involves playing God. This is the most important thing. It is the number one goal of humanistic man. Sartre is right: man is a being whose passion is to be God; fallen man, that is.

Yes? [00:28:36]

[Questioner] In China, you’re speaking of forced abortion...[edit]

[Questioner] In China, you’re speaking of forced abortion after the first baby?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Questioner] Wasn’t Otto speaking, not so much of abortion, as the criminal and the victims –

[Rushdoony] Yes, but it is part and parcel the same thing. They have no concern for the innocent, or the victims of murder, but for the murderer. At every point, their sympathy is with the criminal. This is why only a few states have been able to get any kind of legislation providing restitution for victims; but it’s very easy to arouse people in favor of criminals. It’s becoming, I’m glad to say, a little less easy. Can any of you remember the hue and cry in the 50’s about Caryl Chessman, here in California? Incredible! That sort of thing has been around for some time since World War II, and it has only been changing the last year or two.

Any other questions or comments? Yes?

[Questioner] I thought it was appropriate now to be willing to continue to pray for Ken {unclear}.

[Rushdoony] Yes, we should all be in prayer, continuing prayer, because we have been praying, I know, for Ken Thurston that the healing set in.

Are there any other questions or comments?

Well, if not, let us bow our heads in prayer. O Lord our God, we thank Thee that Thou art the Lord, that all things are in Thy hands, and Thy wisdom is beyond searching out. We come to Thee to thank Thee for Thy grace and mercy. We commit, again, into Thy hands Ken Thurston, praying that Thy healing hand may be upon Him, and that he may speedily be restored to our midst. We thank Thee, our Father, that Thou art very near; that Thou art closer to us than we are to ourselves. We thank Thee for Thine indwelling Spirit, and for His prayers in and with us. And now, Lord, dismiss us with Thy blessing. Give us rest in Thee today and always, and joy in Thy so great salvation. And now, go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always. Amen. [00:32:38]