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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

In the famous opening sentence of his Treatise on the Social Company, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in change.”   

While Rousseau’s social compact theory of government is not Christian, his observation that man is everywhere in chains certainly rings true.  We can see this in the history recorded for us in the Bible as well as from secular sources.  For that matter, we can see it simply reading the news of the day. 

Jesus himself noted the authoritarian nature of civil government in his response to the disciples’ arguing about who among them was the greatest.  Jesus responded to them,

The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’  But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves (Luke 22:25-26).

Note that the kings of the Gentiles do two things.  First, they exercise lordship.  The Greek verb translated “exercise lordship” can also mean “be the lord or master of.”  Perhaps another way of expressing the meaning of the Greek is to use the English expression “lord it over.”  We talk that way.  We say so and so is lording it over someone.  Certainly, that was true of the kings and emperors who governed during Jesus ministry.  They lorded it over their people.  What the kings of the earth wanted, they took, and there was little to stop them. 

The second thing these kings did was be called “benefactor.”  On one hand they oppressed their people, but on the other, they wanted to be known as men of generosity.  A modern example of this is Joseph Stalin, who, while being one of the most ruthless of the 20th century dictators used the title “Dear Father” among others. 

From Jesus response to his disciples, we clearly see that there is a large gap between the Biblical teaching about how government should operate – the idea that government is a servant to the people – and how it actually does operate.

But even more basic than the questions what should government do and how should it go about doing it is the question, why should one man obey another man? 

To answer these questions, we must turn to the Scriptures where we find the origin of civil government. 

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Detail from The Tower of Babel by Peter Brugel, 1563.

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

  • Genesis 1:1

April 15 of this month marked the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  In commemoration of the event, one of the YouTube channels I followed put out a multi-part series covering the events of the April 14 and 15 1912, the night of the sinking. 

One of the videos featured and interesting fact that I had heard about previously but had not appreciated its importance.  As part of the evacuation, Charles Lightoller, the Titanic’s second officer and senior surviving officer, opened the gangway door on D-Deck to help with the lowering of one of the lifeboats. As it turned out, the door was never used during the ship’s evacuation, and in the chaos, was forgotten and left open. This, as it turned out, was a significant oversight.

The D-Deck gangway door was about halfway up on the port (left) side of the ship and normally well above the waterline.  According to one article, it was the ‘front door’ for first class passengers boarding the ship.  But as Titanic settled, eventually the water made its way up to the door and started pouring in.  The way it was explained in the video, the area the gangway afforded to the advancing water was actually larger than the sum of area of the original punctures made by the iceberg on the starboard (right) side at the time of the collision.  With this additional route for water to enter the ship, the sinking of the Titanic rapidly accelerated.    

So just what does this bit of Titanic trivia have to do with today’s subject at hand, marriage?  I admit, the connection may not be immediately obvious, but hear me out.

The stated purpose of this series, going back to Part 1, is, “to apply the revealed history found in Genesis to the current moral, political, scientific and economic problems of our day, refuting the contemporary confusion and setting forth the mind of God on these issues.” 

This brings us to the subject of marriage. 

Back in the day, and we don’t have to go very far back for this, most Americans accepted the Biblical definition of marriage, whether they themselves were Christians. 

But all that has changed in recent years.  If recent polling is to be believed, a full seventy percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage.  As one measure of how things have changed, I recall that the State of Ohio amended its constitution in 2004 to specifically define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.  There was widespread public support for the amendment and the measure was adopted with little public outcry.  This was a mere seventeen years ago. 

The Ohio amendment and all other state-level prohibitions of same-sex marriage were overturned in 2015 by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which originated right here in river city, my hometown of Cincinnati.  

To return to my earlier point about how the mistake of leaving the D-Deck gangway door open sped up the sinking of the Titanic, in like fashion, I believe, the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision sped up the sinking of the America’s ship of state, which already was well under way in 2015.  It’s not as if leaving the gangway door open is what sealed Titanic’s fate.  The ship was going to sink anyway based on the damage already done by the iceberg.  But leaving the door open sped things up.  The same with America.  American’s have been losing their liberties since the Progressive Era – I always thought it should be named the Regressive Era – so the process has been going on for well over a century at this point.  The loss of liberty was well underway even in 1912 when the Titanic sunk.  But the rate of our loss of liberty, almost imperceptible at first, has sped up greatly in recent years.  In my opinion, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision can be likened to the leaving open of the D-Deck gangway door.  We were well on our way to sinking before that, but same-sex marriage sped things up. 

I say this because it allowed evil to access new parts of our society that had remained untouched until that time.  Over the years, there was greater and greater acceptance of same-sex marriage, but the legal recognition of it has seemed to speed up, not only the rate of acceptance of same-sex marriage, but also other parts of the homosexual agenda such as the recognition of transgenders as the new Brahmins of  the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movement. 

But despite what the wokesters would have you believe, there is a valid definition of marriage that is binding on all men and women for the very reason that it is God’s definition of marriage.  And God’s definition does not agree with the Supreme Court’s. 

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