Change - RR136K19

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Change
Course: Course - Salvation and Godly Rule
Subject: Subject:Doctrinal Studies
Lesson#: 19
Length: 0:45:27
TapeCode: RR136K19
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Salvation and Godly Rule.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

Put on the whole armor of God that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness of high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having do all to stand. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who by thy grace in Jesus Christ, hath clothed us in his righteousness and in his armor. We come into thy presence mindful of our need and mindful of thy greatness. Bless us, our Father, in thy service and strengthen us day by day, that in all things we may be able to stand in thy strength, conquer in thy name, and rejoice by thy grace. Bless us in thy service in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our scripture is from the epistle to the Hebrews 11:8-16, and our subject: Change. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” [00:04:00]

This passage in Hebrews deals with Abraham, Sarah,...

This passage in Hebrews deals with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, and their faith. Very commonly, this passage is misinterpreted in terms of neo-platonic ideas, as though these men looked always for a spiritual, as against a material, promise, and that their hope was entirely in a spiritual fulfillment rather than in a material fulfillment. Now, this is a neo-Platonic reading. It is imposing the structure of Greek philosophy onto scripture. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs, indeed looked for heaven, but they also looked for a material promised land. They had made a pilgrimage, Abraham and Sarah, out of Ur the Caldees at God’s command, because the material realm, Canaan, was to be ultimately the place where their descendants would be established, and they were to go there as the first step in its conquest. They died in faith, confident that god would keep His word concerning the possession of Canaan, their growth into a nation, and the blessing of all peoples through the promised see who would ultimately be born through them. They rejoiced in that fulfillment from afar, and they saw it as the counsel of God.

Because they did not yet possess Canaan, they were strangers and pilgrims in a foreign land, and they knew their citizenship was in Heaven, their ultimate destination and home after life on this world was ended.

The Patriarchs felt no disdain for the flesh or for this earth. They did not feel that things material were nothing. The contrast for scripture is not between the material and the spiritual, but between the fallen and the unfilled. After all, Hell is a spiritual realm, but who wants any part of Hell? And the problem for them was that this world was fallen, but that God, through their conquest of Canaan in time to come would make it the first step in the conquest of all earth through His chosen seed, and the whole universe would be blessed through that chosen seed, and redeemed, so that they had the promise of the conquest of Canaan, the blessing of all the earth through the chosen seed, and the glory of Heaven after this life. [00:07:40]

As a result, for them, the contrast was not between

As a result, for them, the contrast was not between the material and the spiritual, but between the fallen and the unfallen, and that their pilgrimage to Canaan was a major step in God’s plan for the re-conquest of that which was fallen. Moreover, the contrast is nowhere between the changing and the unchanging. Again, this is neo-Platonic, and neo-Platonists feel that that which is changing is not good and that which is permanent is good. The problem is not change, it is sin. Nor is the virtue permanence, or an unchanging condition. It is the righteousness of God unto salvation. This an important point, because so often, Christians fall into this neo-Platonic trap and see salvation not as redemption, not as regeneration, but as something unchanging.

There are three possible views with regard to change, and it is important for us to understand the biblical perspective with regard to change, or we will be readily sucked into the trap that, over and over again in history, has beset men. We have referred already to the Greek view, the neo-Platonic view, that change is bad. Aristotle said that perfection is self-sufficiency and permanency. As a result, for Aristotle and the Greeks, a state should be totally self-sufficient. It should not have to buy from any other country. Sell to them? Yes, but never buy from them, and of course, this idea has recurred over and over again in civilization and the whole tariff concept is built on this Greek principle that it is somehow bad to buy from other people but good to sell to them, and when you have all the countries in the world thinking that way, you have the Depression of the thirties, which was precipitated precisely by that kind of thinking carried to the “nth” degree, and we’re getting it again. [00:10:40]

Moreover, the idea of the Greeks was that you should

Moreover, the idea of the Greeks was that you should create a state which was unchanging, fixed, permanent, and so the Greek philosophers like Plato were busy writing idea states, such as Plato’s Republic, a communist Utopia in which everything was planned and fixed and never changing. Marxism is one version of this Greek hostility to change. It aims at establishing a final order on earth in which everything has been planned and is unchanging. For the Greek, the purpose of the law is to fix things, and that’s its primary function. We think of the law, as Christians, as having the righteousness of God, the justice of God, as its end, but for the Greeks, the purpose of law was to fix things and a law was good if you couldn’t change anything, if things were frozen by it. For them, the static and the immutable, the unchanging were higher. They were true, they were good, they were beautiful, as against that which fluctuates and changes. The real is the permanent, they held. It is the unchanging. Whereas the things that change for them were basically unreal.

One scholar, Baker, in commenting on this Greek view of the unchanging, has written very tellingly, “The Greeks has resolved the problem of evil in terms of permanence and change. In general, their position was that matter, which is unstable, changing, is evil, and that reason which enjoys an Iliadic permanence, is good. Evil is not a creation of man’s perverted will but merely a characteristic of matter. Following Parmenides, they had consistently held matter in {?} as the very antithesis of reason, idea, form, conceptual reality. In Neo-Platonism, an earthly philosophy, the derogation of matter, had reached its apex, and it was from Neo-Platonism that Augustine learned most about the perfection of pure, unsubstantial being, about the wickedness, that is, the non-entity of matter. For in matter, said Plotinus, we have no mere absence of means of strength. It is utter destitution, of sense, of virtue, of beauty, of pattern, of ideal principle of quality. This is surely ugliness, utter disgracefulness, unredeemed evil. This view of matter resolves a dualism into a monism. Evil, that is matter, becomes of no consequence metaphysically, because it has no existence. Anything that can be rightly be said to exist exists by participating in the very source and center of being, and whatever does not, has no existence. Matter unillumined by being is uncreated and its evil is depravation and deficiency.” Now this is a very plain statement from a man who is not even a Christian, but he recognizes that the Greek view of change as evil is very, very extensively infected our civilization, and it indeed has. In fact, much of conservatism is really Greek rather than Christian. It is hostile to change. It wants feminincy, and of course, that’s purely Greek thinking. It is not biblical. [00:15:25]

St. Augustine, while still under the influence of Neo-Platonism wrote, and said of things of reality, “As they are, they are good. Therefore, whatsoever is, is good.” Now, this same idea continuing in philosophical thought, was present in Alexander Pope in his essay on man, when he declared, “Whatsoever is, is right.” And again, in our day, Lenny Bruce, the so-called comic, declared, “Truth is, what is.” Therefore no change is necessary in such a world. Whatever is, is right. The world as it is, is perfectly good. Now such a view negates progress. Reality as it is, is good and right. Nothing needs changing. Greece collapsed because it resisted change and growth.

Now the same idea of the “unchanging is good and change is evil” infected Medieval Christianity, and as a result, because it could not change, it resulted in an explosion, the Reformation, but the same idea of “change as evil” began to infect Protestantism. For example, in a very beautiful hymn written in 1847 by Lyte, “Abide with Me,” he gives expression to pure Neo-Platonism.

“Change and decay in all around I see;
  O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

For Lyte, the problem was change, but it cannot be for us as Christians. It is sin, and there is a difference. [

Now, a second view of change is the modern one, which since the latter part of the eighteenth century, has dominated the mind of the modern man, the idea that change is good, that change means growth. Therefore, perpetual change is sought, and change is welcome. Today, the sad fact is that both conservatives and the liberals represent non-Christian perspectives with regard to change. The conservative is against change. He says it is bad, and the liberal says change is good, and he is for it. Now, when the philosophers of the Enlightenment began to move from the Greek idea of change to the modern view of change, the result was the French Revolution. They accepted two basic principles: The perfectibility of man, and by perfectibility they meant sinlessness, total absolute perfection, not the biblical concept of maturity, and the idea that change is good. So, when they accepted the principle that change is good, change would lead to perfection, and immediately, the result was revolution. It meant revolution for revolution’s sake. History had been arrested by the Greek view. The modern view insists on perpetual revolution. [00:20:03]

Dr. Seeman{?}, an historian, has commented on this and he states that the revolutionaries held that, “The factors which alone prevented man from becoming perfect were the superstitions of the church and the tyranny of kings, which between them, condemns man to spiritual and temporal slavery. As Rousseau had put it in the explosive first sentence of the first chapter of his Social Contract, ‘Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.’ If the rest of Rousseau’s bible of revolution consisted largely of verbose obscurities, the direction in which he pointed was clear enough for his like-minded contemporaries and successors. The end result of proclaiming the doctrine of human perfectibility to a generation who were simultaneously told they were free man condemned to slavery, but that they were slaves whose liberation was at hand, was the point of view which Shelley (the poet Shelley) expressed and others acted on. That the world would be a perfect place as soon as the last king had been strangled with the guts of the last priest. It was to be as easy as that.”

Now, Seeman is right. They did believe it was as easy as that. All you needed was to kill off rulers and priests, and have continual change and you would have the perfect society. Change for it’s own sake. Change away from Christianity is the answer to all their problems. Execute, destroy, change, because change will somehow lead to perfection. Seeman declared further that the revolutionists believed that, “Social and political wrongs, whatever they were could be put away by a communal act of violence. Theirs was a faith that, through revolution, man could find a shortcut to a paradise on earth.” That’s exactly what is taught, what is believed, in the public schools and institutions of our day, and if anyone thinks that the revolution has cooled off and died down, they are sadly mistaken. All that people believe today gears them for requiring revolution, and they believe that the answer is to kill, to change, and paradise will be here.

I visit enough campuses every year and talk to enough students to find that this is what they believe, that it’s as simple as that. Until they are changed, until they are transformed by the power of Christ, revolution is inescapable because it is the faith of modern man. Everything in modern education, unless it is systematically Christian, prepares people to believe in revolution, and so you have people believing in change, revolution, as the answer, and the only answer to many people is “change is bad, and that which is unchanging is good,” which only renders them futile. [00:24:29]

Now, faith in revolution rests on faith in evolution

Now, faith in revolution rests on faith in evolution, because faith in evolution is a faith in change as beneficent. After all, let’s take the premise of the evolutionist, that there is no God and that the universe happened by accident, and that by change variation, by change, further developments will take place. Why should someone assume that it is necessarily good? Why should it not be devolution downward? Why should not the changes all be bad? Why should they be good? Why should not 50% of the changes be bad so that if man is changing, if there is a process of evolution or devolution, the next step may be for everyone to be an idiot, instead of Superman? Why do they believe that the next step is Superman? It’s a faith in change as good, but there’s just as much reason to believe that change could be bad. But no, it is a faith held without reason, a faith held emotionally that change, revolution, is good.

I have cited twice before, and it is necessary to cite again in this context, a very classic example, a very powerfully influential example of a belief in the goodness of evolution. Emile Durkheim, whose work on sociology, at the beginning, the latter part of the last century, the beginning of this century, really governs sociology to this day. The two great names in sociology were Compte, the founder, and Durkheim, and Durkheim has, in his classic book, which you can still buy and which is still studied on campuses, a very important chapter which I have referred to on the normality of crime. The criminal, as an evolutionary pioneer, the one who is out in front, experimenting to establish the new normality, the new step in evolution. So, when he is robbing you, he is introducing a new concept of property. When he is killing you, he is introducing a new concept of who shall survive. He is an evolutionary pioneer, and if you think it is an accident that the courts are increasingly easy on criminals, or that our state penitentiaries now have swimming pools and conjugal and non-conjugal visits, and golf courses in the newest ones, and better facilities for entertainment than you and I have, or can afford. After all, they are the pioneers in the evolution of man. If change is good, why not? After all, these are the people who are introducing the most change into society. The thieves, the murderers, the perverts, therefore, are the pioneers of civilization, of evolution. [00:28:39]

Thus, evolution tends to deify change for its own sake

Thus, evolution tends to deify change for its own sake, and the sake of progress comes through change, or revolution, and change is just chance variation. You change and it’s good. As long as you change, you don’t have to have a program. You kill, you destroy what exists, and it’s going to be good. Now, how long would a doctor retain his practice if he prescribed method on the “eeny, meenie, miney, moe” basis, just through chance? This is the way that there is progress, therefore, let’s have progress by the chance selection of medicines. How long can a society based on such a faith remain alive? This is why our civilization is on course suicide. Because it believes that change is good. It will strike at all conservatives because they say “change is bad,” by definition, and it will strike at all Christians because they believe in the unchanging law of God. There is no mistaking it. Our civilization is in crisis. It is on a suicidal course, and you cannot, under any circumstances, see any good coming out of a faith in change. It is the faith which is against God, says that everything, by means of revolution, will be made to work together for good, and we must say it will only work together for evil, because it is the enthronement of mindlessness, destruction, of murder for its own sake. [00:31:13]

As against, therefore, the Greek view that change is

As against, therefore, the Greek view that change is bad, and the modern view that change revolution is always good, we must assert urgently the biblical view in this day, because there is nothing except the biblical view that can deliver our world in this crisis. The Greek view leads to nothing. The modern view leads to suicide, to murder. As Christians, we must say that there is nothing worse than for fallen world to have no change. Eden was a blessed place, but after the fall, for man to dwell in paradise in his sin, able to enjoy himself forever in paradise as a sinner would have been a curse, unparalleled, and so God cursed paradise, the ground, the world, because outside of paradise it was still unfallen. He cursed the ground for man’s sake, that man might find himself unable to stay in an unchanging and a perfect society or world. Fallen man needs change, but he needs principled change. Change in terms of the law word of God.

Permanency and changelessness belong to God, not to the creature. God says, “I am the Lord, I change not,” and He has given to us His infallible word, the scripture, that we might have a principle by which to change things. Change is good when it is principled by the word of God. When we change things to bring them into conformity to the word, then it is good change, but apart from that, change is simply the outworking of sin.

There’s a good French proverb: “The more things change, the more they are the same,” and that’s true. When change is simply an outworking, an expression of sin, “the more things change, the more they are the same.”

The Christian, therefore, must affirm permanence and changelessness, but never with respect to the creation, or man, or any aspect of man in creation. He must affirm change, but never with respect to God and His word. There can never be any growth or progress, or change that is worthwhile or have any meaning except in terms of God’s law. The Christian, therefore, is not at grief{?}. He is not a reactionary. He does not want changelessness in the social order. He is only {?} the future to the new creation, and that’s why the American Constitution introduced something new in the idea of Constitutions, because the framers were Christian, the idea of amendment. They did not believe that man should try to erect something unchanging, because man does not, in a fallen world, have that wisdom or that righteousness. Man is oriented, in Christ, to the future, to the new creation. Therefore, he is oriented to principled change in terms of that which is unchanging. [00:35:52]

The Patriarchs therefore, were pilgrims and sojourners

The Patriarchs therefore, were pilgrims and sojourners, Hebrews tells us, in terms of this. They didn’t despise the world around them. They didn’t want it to be unchanging. They wanted Canaan to change. They wanted the world to change so that God’s dominion could be manifested and they were pilgrims in terms of the belief that God would, in time, and they saw these things from afar, give Canaan to their posterity, that in the fullness of time, Christ would be born, the chosen seed of the line of Abraham, and that in due time, Christ’s dominion would be from pole to pole, and their spiritual descendants would be as the stars of Heaven, innumerable, and that beyond this world, even as they lived, was Heaven, their home with God. They were pilgrims and sojourners looking forward to change in terms of that which is unchanging; the purpose and the word of God, because the Christian is not at war with change, but with sin. The sinner wants to change everything, except himself. The Christian welcomes change which has, as its principle, the word of God. Without this principle, change is destructive, and the Christian begins with regeneration, which is more than change. It is a new creation, and then the regenerate man is a new creation begins to change the world around him in terms of God’s holy word, in terms of the unchanging God.

Thus, only a biblical view of change is relevant to our world crisis, and we are in crisis. Revolution is the faith of the day, change, blind, meaningless, murderous change, and it makes itself clear. It will not rest, and Shelley’s remarks have been quoted over and over again by every revolutionist to our day. They will not rest until they strangle every one in position of authority, and murder every person who is of faith. They will not cease until they destroy everything. We have been called to proclaim the word of God with the only valid principle of change and to declare that change must come, but only in terms of that, and that this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith, and in terms of that, we must believe in change, and only in terms of that and in terms of that, we must work for victory and believe in God’s victory. Let us pray. [00:39:50]

Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee that

Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee that against the enormity of this world, and this belief in revolution, thou who art God art our sufficiency in the face of all things, that if thou art for us who can be against us? That in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Make us strong in this faith, effectual in thy service, and faithful to thy word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Our time is really about up but we have time for just a question or two, very brief ones. This is an extremely important subject, so we would like to give it all the time possible. Well, if there are no questions, I’d like to read a paragraph from a very interesting book, Toward a Christian Philosophy of Higher Education, by John Paul von Grueningen. It’s a mediocre book at best, but in one of the chapters, one of the writers in this symposium, in writing on the marks of a Christian college, says something that I think is very telling in terms of our problem today with education, which we had cause to refer to earlier.

“The best story I know in the history of the American college, is that of the way in which the great Timothy Dwight, perhaps the most famous college president which we have so far had in this nation chose his first professor of chemistry. Parenthetically, Timothy Dwight was a great Calvinist clergyman who was president of Yale, the end of the 1700’s and the early 1800’s. Dwight decided a century and a half ago that he would add chemistry to the offerings at Yale. So, he looked around for an able professor. He met a good many chemists and did not like any of them, so he did a remarkable thing. He picked out a young man named Silliman, aged only 23 who was brilliant, able, and committed, but had never even seen a chemistry experiment. Dwight appointed him professor of chemistry at Yale College and then sent him for three years to London to learn chemistry. Dwight’s philosophy was this: a good man can become a chemist, but it is very hard to be a good man. Professor Silliman came back from London and conducted the most brilliant department of chemistry in this nation for fifty years. Today, Silliman College, at Yale University, is named for this man who was first appointed and then trained.” [00:43:57]

This is a wonderful story, and if I were the president

This is a wonderful story, and if I were the president of a college, I would follow Dwight’s policy. I think that’s a very telling illustration and a very appropriate one for our day. We have one announcement. There will be a Bible study, beginning studies in the book of Romans, at the home of Dick and Secora Gutierrez, 1216 Hill Drive, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, this Wednesday. If you want directions, ask Dick Gutierrez. Let us bow our heads now for the benediction.

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. [00:45:00]

End of tape

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