And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and naked to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. –
Several passages in Scripture speak of God’s omnipresence and his omniscience. At least some of them do so in the context of God’s judgment. The above passage is one such. Another is Jeremiah 23:24, which reads, ” ‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord.” Not only does God see all things and know all things, but as our omnipotent creator he has the right and power to judge all things. These three attributes of God – his omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence – are both a cause for men to fear, and, for the Christian at least, a cause of great comfort. King David, who was given the choice of punishment at the hands of his enemies or at the hands of God, expressed no doubt which he preferred, “Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man” (2Sam. 24:14).
And because omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence are attributes of the true God, it should come as no surprise that false Gods, those who seek to imitate and usurp his rightful authority, seek to claim them for themselves. One such false god, one such idol, is the state. The state or ruler deified is hardly something new. Many ancient nations revered their leaders as gods. The pharaohs claimed to be gods. The degenerate Roman Caesars held likewise. The pope claims to rule in the place of God, and some zealous Romanists have even addressed the pope as God. In more recent times, German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel famously referred to the state as, “God walking on earth.” Economist Ludwig Von Mises coined, or at least made popular, the term “statolatry” to describe this flawed view of government.
I mention these things, because I can’t help but see the rise of the modern surveillance state as the outworking of Hegel’s deluded notions about government. If the state truly is God walking on earth, then it follows that any limits placed on its ability to see, hear, know and act are not only an affront to the government, but even rise to the level of blasphemy. This is essentially the message of the Obama administration, which when confronted about its unconstitutional, immoral spying, retorts that we should all just get over it already and trust them, doubting nothing. It’s all for our own good, don’t you see? Absolutely nothing should be hidden from the sight of federal snoops. If you’re not doing something wrong, you have nothing to worry about, or so goes the argument.
What is equally bad, or perhaps even worse, is the reaction of mainstream pundits both left and right. Not only do they fail to rebuke an out-of-control federal government for its many breeches of the Fourth Amendment, but they actually seem to go out of their way to provide intellectual cover for these activities. One example comes to mind from Fox News. In discussing the revelation that the USPS images every piece of mail passing through the postal system, and that there is no limit to how long these images are stored, commentator Charles Krauthammer dismissed any concerns with a rhetorical waive of the hand by noting that hardly anyone sends letters anymore. Nothing to see here folks, move along… I mean, thank goodness our emails, texts messages, internet searches and phone conversations are safe from the government snoops, otherwise we’d have nowhere to turn for privacy.
Despite what the ACLU would have us believe, Christianity is not the enemy of personal liberty, but the best friend it ever had. The whole idea of limited government has its roots in the Bible. This can be seen from many passages in the Old and New Testaments, from Samuel’s warnings to Israel about the behavior of future Israelite kings to the strict limitations placed on government by Paul in Romans 13. Bob Dylan made a good point in his song “You Gotta Serve Somebody,” for serve we all must. Americans can either repent and serve the Lord in freedom, or continue on their current path enslaved to the state. I’d like to think we’d make the right choice, but I’m not terribly optimistic.