Babylonian Exceptionalism or, Insanity Explained

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Over time Nebuchadnezzar drifted into a belief in Babylonian exceptionalism. “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Dan. 4:30). Because of his hubris, because of his conceit, he was struck with madness. The God of heaven determined to show that a man thinking that he had actually built his own empire was equivalent to him thinking that he was a moo cow. Caligula

And Nebuchadnezzar remained in that state until he returned to sanity. And what did that return to sanity look like? It looked like this:

“And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Dan. 4:34–35).

The king’s insanity consisted of not taking God (as God) into account, and his return to sanity consisted of acknowledging that the God of the system was outside the system.

If there is no God outside the system, then the system is god. And that means there is no external point of reference by which the activities of the system may be evaluated. But using your only yardstick to measure your yardstick is simply stupid. “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12).

This kind of folly is how Nebuchadnezzar came to embrace the bovine right of kings. This is how Caligula planned to make his horse a consul. And this is exactly the same kind of thing that Obama is doing with the transgender insanity. The Justice Department has determined that a small child with a wee wee has the authority to determine in his heart that he really ought not to have one, and thus must be allowed to use the other restroom. And the full fury of our august nation will descend upon your head and shoulders if you give way to the temptation to snicker.

But there is a logic to it. If you are the supreme leader of the strongest nation the world has ever known, and there is no voice from outside the system to check your folly, then it follows that there is no such thing as folly.

“For my people is foolish, they have not known me; They are sottish children, and they have none understanding: They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge” (Jer. 4:22).

In the early years of secularism, because of inherited Christian capital, things could run pretty well. But this is like saying that for the first three days of partying the prodigal son still had money. After secularism has had its full opportunity to work out the logic of its own premises, to rule on the basis of its own insane wisdom, you may glance around at the consequences. What a JOKE. So it was prescient for the secularists to devise a system of polity in which all decisions are vindicated in their very own self-referential ways, where we measure our yardstick with our own yardstick, such that there is no such thing as a JOKE. Otherwise we’d all look pretty stupid right now.

In Scripture, death is separation. Physical death is separation of the spirit from the body. Spiritual death is separation from God. That which is dead is divided. Death is therefore not a state of being inert. Death is actually separation. We were all dead in our trespasses and sins, Paul says, in which we used to walk. We used to walk around in a condition of separation from God. We did not walk around in a condition of not being able to walk around.

I say this in order to define life. If we want to talk about “all of Christ for all of life,” and it is only fair to define terms. Jesus said that He came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. But what is this abundant life? Is it merely some kind of spiritual joy juice, some kind of celestial circus water? Doing whatever you were doing before, but just a little bit more cheerfully?

If death is separation and division, then life is union, integration, restoration. In Col. 1:18, Paul says that Christ is the arche of all things, the one in whom all things hold together. But in order to hold all things together like this, Christ must be at the right hand of the Father. He must be the one who created the cosmos, which means that we must insist on a Creator/creation divide. Meaning for the creation can only come from outside the creation. If meaning arises from within the system, then whatever arises must be received by us as though it were meaningful, and we must do so with solemn faces.

The integration of all things that is so necessary can only be accomplished by Christ, and this Christ must be the uncreated God, the Second Person of the Godhead. Deny this and everything turns stupid.

Now we live in a world that is fragmented by sin. It has always been fragmented de facto, but one of the things that is unique about our time is that we have begun insisting on normalizing this fragmented condition. We are now insisting on fragmentation de jure. It is one thing to live in a broken world that you know is broken (because there is an unbroken standard outside the world). But it is quite another to live in a broken world that everyone claims is whole, perfect, just right. So the decree has now gone forth — Bedlam rhymes with Bethlehem, and will serve just as well.

And if you say no, no, the world in fact is broken, the thought police — actually, we don’t have thought police anymore, but something more like militarized thought SWAT teams — descend upon you and your hateful ways.

Remember that death is separation, and note that there are three forms of death that our crazed and febrile world insists we cling to. In what follows, I am using certain figures in philosophy as representatives and/or place-holders, and not trying to review the history of intellectual thought as though it were an exercise in billiard ball physics. Still, take note.

Going back to Kant, we have wanted to insist on a profound separation between the Creator and the creation. This is not epistemic humility — it is spiritual death. Going back to Hume, we have been separated from the world around us. We do not trust our knowledge of the world anymore at all. We needed to have followed Thomas Reid instead. Going back to Sartre, we have been separated from the authority of right reason. In short, we lost God, we lost the world, and now, right on schedule, we have lost our minds.

Another way of saying this is that we have lost our way.

“My people hath been lost sheep: Their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: They have gone from mountain to hill, They have forgotten their restingplace” (Jer. 50:6).

When Christian thinkers try to appeal to this world gone mad, urging them to remember the honored tradition of religious liberty, they need to realize that it was the honored Christian tradition of religious liberty. But now, locked up in the asylum as we are, with no outside reference point tolerated, there is no reason for anyone to remember any of that. Who is worse off? The madman who sticks with his madness, or the reasonable guy who expects the madman to act as though he were not mad?

And so this is why the only thing the Church should be doing right now is declaring, announcing, and preaching the saving lordship of Jesus Christ. Do you want salvation? You will need a Savior for that. But mark it well. I do not mean “gospel-centeredness” as a means of evacuating a crazy world. I mean real gospel-centeredness, the kind that restores worlds, and builds civilizations.

Our generation is in the midst of lunatic convulsions. Whenever the fit seizes us, we are thrown into the fire, into the water. Nothing whatever can be done. The disciples could not cast out that particular demon, Jesus said, because of their unbelief. It is the same now.

Consider the sentiments from this translation of the first verse of Psalm 68, a Huguenot battle hymn. Compare it to the kinds of things we sing in our huddled conclaves.

Let God but rise and show his face,
And in a moment from the place
Our foes are disappearing.
Their camp dispersed, bereft their pride,
Astonished, pressed on every side,
They flee at his appearing.
We shall behold their scattered tents
Fade like a vapor dark and dense,
Their nothingness remaining:
As melts the wax in fervent heat,
So melt the wicked when they meet
Our God, their strength consuming.

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Ray D.
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Ray D.

Do you have a tune for that Psalm? Or a meter, so that we could pick a tune for it?

Jon Swerens
Member

It’s 8.8.7.8.8.7., for what it’s worth.

Jon Swerens
Member

Actually, the Cantus Christi has maybe one tune in 8 8 7 . 8 8 7. 8 8 7. 8 8 7. that would work.

Ray D.
Guest
Ray D.

Thanks. I can probably look in the meter index in the back of a hymnal and find tunes that may work.

Mark Hanson
Member

There are almost a dozen tunes in 8.8.7D here:
http://www.hymntime.com/tch/mid/met/887%20D.htm

and one in 8.8.7:
http://www.hymntime.com/tch/mid/met/887.htm

Tim Bushong
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Tim Bushong

We have the same tune (same meter anyway) as Psalm 68 in our hymnal/Psalter–it’s called “Que Dieu se montre seulement.”

It was a big hit back in the 1540’s.

Ben
Guest
Ben

Doug, have you confronted the police in your church about the fact that they play a necessary role in the perpetuation of this insanity? Have you put them under Matthew 18 church discipline in the same way you would a man who beats his wife? Because chicken-necks like Obama can only get away with this stuff because of those very police who are on stand-by. You see what I’m saying? You, MacArthur, Piper, Mohler, and all the other Evangelical Intelligentsia have a duty to set a proper example and move the dial in such a way that the idea of… Read more »

Arwen B
Guest
Arwen B

For that, he would have to determine if they have played a part in the insanity.

To the best of my knowledge, Moscow is still mostly at the “appeals to fairness” stage of the insanity (since people around here actually take action against the attempts at ginning up a mob), not the “infliction of jackboots” stage.

adad0
Member

Sting goes to Christ Church?
Who knew? ????

Carson Spratt
Member

I accidentally read Jer 4:22 as saying “They are Scottish children” and I was very confused.

Heidi
Guest
Heidi

It’s our fault.
Baptists won’t tell their kids who they are until they figure it out for themselves. And Presbyterians treat their kids like a subspecies until they can prove that they’re not.
Meanwhile, the kids are in public school being catechized by Darwin the cross-dressing ape.
The vacuum created by our fear that our kids are imperfect covenant members has Hoover Elementary-ed our kids away. Give them a name. Feed them like family. This is all our fault.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Mr. Wilson, Sometimes I wonder if you aren’t barking up the wrong tree. The Huguenot battle hymn seems startlingly inapt. Whom are you fighting? Your fellow citizens? You say that you declare the Lordship of our Lord. Very good. Then why do you not do what He says? Have you run out of poor and exploited people that you find time to dream presumptuous dreams? The Devil has baited his trap and it appears you have taken the bait. He has enticed you with dreams of power into fighting on ground of his choosing, with weapons he has mastered.… Read more »

Seth B.
Guest
Seth B.

What specifically do you think he is doing wrong? It’s easy to catch someone out if your accusation is vague enough.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Hi!

You are right. Let me be more specific. Mr. Wilson has mistaken the victims of the Devil for the Devil himself.

He should be fighting the Prime Adversary. Instead he wastes his efforts fighting the pawns. In a way that actually pleases the Devil.

At some point incompetence becomes indistinguishable from malice.

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

What pleases the devil is when those who desperately need the the saving grace of Jesus Christ (which includes all of us), reject it as an over-reaching, politically incorrect affront to their victimhood status.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Mr. Tom,
I am sure that is not true. The Gospel and the Person of Jesus Christ command respect even in the parts of the world most hostile to Christians. There is really nothing so disarming as the sincere statement of the fact: “God loves you.”
But it must be sincere. That can only happen within a relationship.

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

The Gospel by definition is sincere.
It’s those self appointed arbiters of sincerity we have to watch out for.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Mr. Tom,
If you know you are sincere, it will shine through. The Lord will see to it. But there are no short cuts to persuasion.

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

Please, call me Tom
Can you explain how in claiming to know how long it takes the Lord to see to the sincerity of his servants shining through and persuading nonbelievers, you aren’t acting as a self appointed arbiter?

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Tom,
No. Just reporting His power. And I did not specify a schedule. The Lord is sovereign.

Anyway, if you want to know more about these things you have only to read the Bible and sage Christian writers. For example the Lord’s promise to supply words for defence before tribunals.

Furthermore, I have decided to not comment on this group anymore. I have said my piece. You are not my responsibility. I have the heartiest sympathies for whichever evangelist is tasked with your (plural) case. The Lord give them strength.

feliciasimo
Member

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is full of grace and truth. Don’t judge yourself by how sincere you believe what you believe. You may became the enemy of the Gospel when you fail to convey those truths clearly. When did Christians started to believe that when people sin, they are doing it out of ignorance? It can happen, but most of the time they know full well, and they choose to do it anyway. When people become proud of their sin, how will your sincere “God loves you” help them?

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Ms. Simon, Your point is well taken. Let us not be too wise in our own eyes. People do sin deliberately. But what should the Christian response to sin? Our Lord was deliberately crucified. Stephen was deliberately stoned. What was their response? What was the response of Gladys Staines to the people who burned her husband and sons alive? What was the response of those Amish towards the mother of the man who killed their children? Their response was to pray for those who hurt them. Be gentle with sinners. Do not harden your heart against them. Pray for… Read more »

feliciasimo
Member

Do you remember Stephen’s words before they picked up the stones and killed him?

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

His words were “I see Heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Before he died he said “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.”

His last words were “Lord do not hold this sin against them”.

Here was one who had conquered!

insanitybytes22
Member

I appreciate your words. I’ve been trying to put my finger on that very thing, but it can be a hard to explain. Somewhat amusing, but I often blog under Insanitybytes because the whole world has indeed gone mad. However, in following Christ I am aware we are to reach out and heal the inmates, not burn down the whole asylum. Those “militarized thought SWAT teams” also happen to come in a very Christian, very right wing flavor. If I can not even tell the good guys from the bad guys or the sane from the insane, then we have… Read more »

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

You are right enough that we ought not to lose sight of the real enemy. At the same time, the practice of the apostles and prophets clearly includes opposing not just Satan but his ministers: witness the way Paul talks about his adversaries among the Jews, or the way that Jesus addresses the Pharisees. Read any two pages in a row from Jeremiah and get back to me. If we are to speak biblically, then we must be able to follow the whole Bible when appropriate, and sometimes, it appears, that includes telling sinners in so many words that they… Read more »

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Mr. Uberti,

If Mr. Wilson’s intentions are above reproach (as I think they are), his execution leaves much to be desired.

Farinata degli Uberti
Guest
Farinata degli Uberti

Could you just state your accusation in so many words? Like, what actual thing that Wilson has done do you find fault with? Are you saying he doesn’t pray enough? Doesn’t give enough to charity? Writes too much about politics? (And how on earth would you know, anyway?) These constant insinuations are unbecoming.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Mr. Uberti,

Please go back and read what I have written. I think I have made my point plainly. If you want any clarifications, I am at your service.

drewnchick
Member

You’re wasting your breath. With Dalvi, you’ll only get vague, squishy, amoebic, evasive maneuvering designed to avoid being pinned down with any actual stances on anything. He has proven–especially in this forum–to be about as genuine as a glass eye.
But I guarantee you he’ll chime in with the last worthless word.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Mr. Malachi,
Please allow me to fulfil your prophecy. God bless you and yours.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Your advice tends to suggest that you think Doug Wilson is not doing anything (or doing enough) for the poor and oppressed. I think that, unless you have proof of that, it seems a bit unfair. As well, although the poor and oppressed call out to us for help, there is more to Christian ministry than just that focus.

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Ms. Bean, I am sure he is doing something. But giving alms is not enough. He is not giving himself in a manner that can be emulated. His focus is clearly elsewhere. I can even point out where: he has got it into his head that the Devil can be dethroned by main force! Of argument, at that! This is a losing battle. There may have been some victories in the beginning, but Mr. Wilson is charging uphill against an Adversary who invented the very weapon he loves to use: rhetoric. Don’t take on the Devil at his game.… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

In the huge mission field that lies before us, there is a place for different ministries and different ministers. I would argue that the rhetoric may not be intended to vanquish the devil so much as it is intended to awaken the sleeping conscience of those who are doing the devil’s work. Of course, there is a place for persuasion. Of course, we should be winning hearts through acts of kindness. But there is also a time for people to use whatever influence they may have to confront the powerful who have fallen into evil. The example of the saints… Read more »

Vishwanath Haily Dalvi
Guest
Vishwanath Haily Dalvi

Dear Ms. Bean,
All you say is true. Saints must be brave as well as kind: and those qualities are the product of a large tender heart that knows the sufferings of the poor.
What saints must not do is give up on people. People are never the enemy. The most hedonistic, depraved, wicked soul can be the next Augustine or Paul.
The example of the saints is before us.

Lance Roberts
Guest

While we’re supposed to pray for and love our enemies, please note that God still calls them enemies. What saints must do is to see things as God sees them.

insanitybytes22
Member

“What saints must do is to see things as God sees them.”

I totally agree. However, if people perceive God as judgemental, unforgiving, harsh, that is how they treat other people too, and they often believe they really are seeing people and things as God sees them. We often assume our enemies are God’s enemies and we are not always correct there.

Lance Roberts
Guest

I sure hope no one thinks of an animal shelter as a ministry, certainly not on par with feeding the hungry and sheltering unwed mothers. If someone wants that as their hobby or vocation, ok, and they can use it engage in ministry, but sheltering animals isn’t any ministry that God has called us to. We’re here to help people, and animals are one of the tools that God has created for us to use; not to place them at the same level with people.

insanitybytes22
Member

That’s a really good point. A long with all the other insanity in our culture, it is popular those days to place more value on animals than we do on people.

Jane
Member

That’s certainly true in our current situation, and I’d say animal shelters as they are currently structured go pretty far down the list. (Not that there is anything wrong with the structure of shelters in general, but they are mostly about sheltering pets so they can be adopted, not rescuing the truly abused, though that plays a part also.) But I wonder if jllly has in mind times and places in history where rescuing animals from abuse in a very hard-hearted culture stood as a witness to God’s love of His creation as a whole. There may have been a… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Well, it’s somewhat tragic but many of our laws against abusing women and children have sprung forth from our laws against abusing animals. The amount of money spent on protecting pets today can be just astounding, both in the private sector as individuals, and in non profits. There’s some really disturbing aspects to it, because I often wonder if our culture actually places more value on animals than it does on human beings.

Jane
Member

I don’t wonder. I know that at least swathes of our culture do put more value on animals than on human beings. Witness the gorilla nonsense of the last few days.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I do see your point but I respectfully disagree a little. (Not about the poor gorilla; I am very sorry he had to be shot, but anyone who thinks the gorilla’s life was more valuable than the child’s is a moral imbecile.) I think that humans have a duty of care toward animals that we have domesticated, called on to work for us, or taken into our homes with an understanding that we will provide food, shelter, and kind treatment. As a crazy cat lady, I do understand the temptation of indulging animals at the expense of humans who need… Read more »

melody
Member
melody

Huh?

Doug Wright
Guest
Doug Wright

the emperor is a unic in invisible drag. Government is not a quadrant of sacrimental authority-but the well evolved HR dept. of critical theory. Any leader is all about the women, the children, the picked on ambiguios. BUT- with a champion in the MIC. You fools are completely ineffective and hand-wringingly so, because youve retreated also from arguments of authority. How ironic pastors as presidents lord it over all the while spouting poetry on their femininity and humility. Like Nero they build monuments to their own humility. the modern images are mental. All the ink and amplified lectures in the… Read more »

Steven Blann
Guest
Steven Blann

So– and this question is a bit off the topic– what do we make of churches that deny the trinity, or, at the very best, resort to modalism to stave off critics?

Nathan Smith
Member

I feel we’re closing in on the last act of That Hideous Strength. I’m not going to any dinner parties anytime soon.

jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Goodbye, Vishwanath, and God bless. Whenever you need to take a break from fighting the Devil, feel free to return.