By Mark R. Rushdoony
Modern man cannot believe in transcendent truth and justice. Evolving man in an evolving world of randomness must necessarily turn to pragmatic accommodation.
Evolution involves a philosophical perspective on all of life. Darwin gave modern man a biological presupposition about life more than a scientific explanation of it. His theory of natural selection, in fact, was long ago dismissed as the key element of evolution; it simply would not produce the changes Darwin claimed. Mutation, not natural selection, is now seen by “Neo-Darwinists” as the key to biological change. The mechanism of evolutionary theory has changed, as has the time frame (vastly expanded), but the theory remains because it is the only way to avoid God and, hence, accountability to Him.
Evolutionary man is rationalistic; he believes his mind alone is the interpreter of knowledge and the basis for thought and action. Darwin solidified the naturalistic interpretation of reality because he postulated a world in which God was ancillary. Ironically, he also undercut the basis of rationalism itself because of his dependence on the randomness of the universe. A universe of random chance could have no “natural law,” and the reason of man was an evolutionary latecomer, so it could not be the basis of anything. In destroying the God-centered view of the natural order, Darwin also destroyed any possibility of order. This is why the progression of modern culture and society is toward the base and vulgar. Our real context, if Darwin is correct, is the primeval and primitive.
Modern man needs some order and meaning, however. He must operate in terms of some standard. His baseline of reality, though, cannot be fixed. He sees facts as random, or “brute,” waiting to be discovered and given significance by man. He views the world of nature in this way and the world of ideas as well.
Evolutionary man cannot believe in transcendent law and justice; he can see them only as products of man’s biological and social history. These are abstract, not fixed. They are artificial, not absolute, impersonal, not the revelation of the will of the Creator God. Like all things else, truth and justice must be seen as evolving with man and his culture.
Evolutionary truth and justice are, at best, pragmatic and temporary standards. Evolving man and evolving society are seen to develop concepts of truth and justice to temporarily bring stability out of chaos. As man and his environment changes, truth and justice will change.
Chaos is natural to the evolutionary mindset, and hence it forces stability to yield to inevitable change. The evolutionary faith is thus a revolutionary faith; it believes in the necessity of change and sees fixity as contrary to the natural evolutionary order. Evolutionary man is revolutionary man because he cannot believe in a world of fixed standards and truth in a world governed by chaos. Without fixed, transcendent truth and justice, man has no basis for authority. In a world of chaos and revolution, man goes to two extremes to establish authority. One is anarchy, where every man is his own determiner, his own authority. This is consistent humanism, but humanistic man is also pragmatic and does not tolerate anarchy for very long. The alternative to anarchism is arbitrary authoritarianism. Truth and justice are defined and redefined by those with political and social clout. In recent years this has increasingly been done by academia, the judiciary, psychiatrists, politicians, and others. When humanism reigns, the elite will rule in the name of “the people.”
Expecting modern man to provide truth and justice is like building on top of a sand dune. Once the wind begins to blow, all you have built will crumble. This is where mankind finds himself at the beginning of the 21st century.
Truth and justice cannot be transcendent unless they come from the unchanging God of Scripture. You can build on Him and His Word. ***
Rev. Mark R. Rushdoony is president of Chalcedon and Ross House Books. He is also editor-in-chief of Faith for All of Life and Chalcedon’s other publications.
Article from Chalcedon.edu