The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World
(by Voddie Baucham)
(Voddie Baucham is dean of the seminary at African Christian University and previously served as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has authored numerous books, academic journals, and magazine articles. He is married to Bridget and they have nine children. They currently live in Lusaka, Zambia.)
This message appears as a chapter in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World.
Friends…this will be a 9 Part series. Please, please, take the time to work through this series. dh
The Question of Ethics
Christian theism views ethics — the question of moral rights and wrongs — as absolute, since morality is rooted in the eternal and unchanging character of God. Secular humanism and its postmodern ally, on the other hand, view ethics as completely cultural and negotiable. They claim that what is ethically right in one culture is not necessarily permitted in another culture, and therefore each culture negotiates its own ethical norms. As a result, there are many history professors who are unwilling to say that what Nazi Germany did in its attempt to exterminate the Jews was unethical, because secular humanism allows that somehow it fit within the framework and context of German culture and the negotiated ethics it had developed at that time.
Life’s Ultimate Questions
I now want us to look at how these two frameworks are worked out in real life. I also want to examine how we address the issue of truth, along with its relationship to the supremacy of Christ, in a postmodern world. Every human being who has ever lived or will ever live has asked, is asking, or will ask four basic questions. They are the same questions no matter where you live (whether in Asia, Africa, Europe, or North America) or when you ask (whether in the first century, the twenty-first century, or, if the Lord should tarry, the thirty-first century). The four questions are these: (1) Who am I? (2) Why am I here? (3) What is wrong with the world? and (4) How can what is wrong be made right? While we may not all articulate them, it is in the soul of every person to wrestle with these four basic questions.
“Morality is rooted in the eternal and unchanging character of God.”
Allow me to answer these questions first from the perspective of our culture and then from the perspective of Christian theism, based on Colossians 1. If we ask our culture these four questions, here are the answers we get.
Who Am I?
The answers provided by secular humanism to the first question are these: You are an accident. You are a mistake. You are a glorified ape. You are the result of random evolutionary processes. That’s it. No rhyme. No reason. No purpose. You are ultimately nothing. This is the pathetic reality when evolution runs its ideological course. If the idea is carried to its logical conclusion, man has no more value than a field mouse; and if the field mouse is an endangered species that happens to share the man’s property — guess who has to move?
Why Am I Here?
Secular humanism’s answer to the question, “Why am I here?” is that you are here to consume and enjoy. Get all you can. Can all you get. Sit on the can. That’s why you’re here. That’s the only thing that matters. When the famous philanthropist John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money is enough?” he was as honest as any man has ever been. He responded, “Just a little bit more.” Consume and enjoy. That’s why you’re here.
By the way, when you combine pleasure and consumption in a materialistic universe, you get terrible results. If I have no rhyme or reason for my existence — if I am no more than the result of random evolutionary processes, and I only exist to consume and enjoy — the only things that matter are whether I’m more powerful than you are and whether you have something I need for my enjoyment. If so, then it is incumbent upon me to take whatever I need from you in order to increase my own satisfaction.
Have we not seen this lived out in the world? Have we not seen the logical conclusion of this kind of social Darwinism? Have we not seen a culture that at one time said there is one race that is further evolved than all other races? They argued that because the Aryan race is superior to all other races, it is incumbent upon the Aryan race to dominate and/or exterminate other races in order to usher in the next level of our evolution.
Don’t look down on them. Don’t look down on their scientists and their biologists who viewed Jews as things and not people in order to justify their extermination, because that’s exactly what our scientists and biologists do to the baby in the womb. The same concept of eugenics reduces the baby in the womb to an inconvenient lump of flesh. Even more sinister is the fact that severely deformed children are often exterminated in the womb due to their interference with our ability to consume and enjoy. At the other end of the spectrum of life, when people are old and feeble and the end is near, they not only have a right to die — now they have a duty to die. Just give them a cocktail and they can cease being a burden to their children, who are now taking care of them.
Who am I? According to the prevailing worldview in our postmodern culture, I’m nothing. Why am I here? I am here to make the most of it, to consume and enjoy while I can. (Part 4, Con’t tomorrow)