The True Battleground
By RL Forrest
Table Of Contents
BATTLES OF FAITH
"I AM THE LORD THY GOD"
Today, Biblical Christianity is in the midst of a tremendous battle. This is true even in America, where many of our public institutions were established upon Biblical foundations and faith. Atheistic social change agents have worked continuously to erase all traces of the God of the Bible from our public institutions and from the public mind. They mistakenly believe that they are liberating themselves from what they view as spiritual bondage. But in truth, even their atheism is a faith, a religion, and a spiritual path.
In a recent landmark ruling, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged this fact. This decision reversed a ruling by a U.S. District Court which had censored the religious speech of students. The Appeals Court stated, "Cleansing our public schools of all religious expression... inevitably results in the establishment of disbelief - atheism - as the state's religion." Christians already know that atheism is a religion of disbelief. Moreover, we know that disbelief in the existence of God results in the belief that man is his own god.
BATTLES OF FAITH
Many of our battles of faith in America have found themselves in the courtroom. The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided not to entertain a case regarding the display of the Ten Commandments at a municipal building in Elkhart, Indiana. (1) This decision let stand a lower court's ruling that the display of the Ten Commandments was a violation of the United States Constitution. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the rest of the court. In their dissent, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote:
"Indeed, a carving of Moses holding the Ten Commandments, surrounded by representations of other historical legal figures, adorns the frieze on the south wall of our courtroom."
However, Justice John Paul Stevens, defended the Court's decision to let stand the lower court's ruling. Justice Stevens wrote:
"Even though the first two lines of the monument's text appear in significantly larger font than the remainder, they are ignored by the dissenters. Those lines read: ‘THE TEN COMMANDMENTS - I AM the LORD thy God.’ The graphic emphasis placed on those first lines is rather hard to square with the proposition that the monument expresses no particular religious preference."
As Christians, we know that it is those very words: "I am the LORD thy God," that are driving a wedge between the Biblically faithful and faithless in this country. It is because of those very words, that our institutions have become battlegrounds of faith. The recent furor over the phrase, 'One nation under GOD', in our Pledge of Allegiance, is just another battle in this war. Christians generally can see this kind of spiritual battle clearly in terms of black and white. But can we see the battle when we are dealing with subtle shades of gray? Can we see where the true battleground really is?
"I AM THE LORD THY GOD"
"I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20: 2-3
God first revealed the existence of the two spiritual pathways to humanity in the Garden of Eden. One way leads to life, and the other to death. There, in the midst of the garden, grew the "tree of life" and the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." God had placed Adam and Eve in the garden, then gave them clear instruction on how to survive in that very beautiful place:
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:16-17
Adam and Eve were given the same choice that we are all given today. There was, and is, a way to eternal life. If you don’t make the choice for life, you will die. From the beginning of time, God has clearly revealed this basic truth to humanity. Yet, Adam and Eve freely discarded God's word. Moreover, they rebelled against God’s command to obey it. But first, came the serpent.
Satan had already embarked on the road of rebellion. When he came to Eve in the garden, he planted a seed, the lie, in her mind, "Ye shall not surely die." Even though this statement was a complete contradiction of God's word, it appealed to Eve's curiosity, and she continued to listen. Then the serpent appealed to Eve's pride, saying, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3: 4b-5). When Eve saw the tree was "good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise" (Genesis 3:6), she was beguiled. Eve willingly joined the rebellion, followed by Adam. Satan had succeeded in undermining God's word in the minds of Adam and Eve.
Far-reaching consequences have come as a result of Adam and Eve's choice. Sin took humanity captive, and death became our inheritance. In Genesis 3:22-23 we read:
"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."
All of humanity has consequently been born with a sinful nature and separated from God. As a result, we spend our lives, trying to find our way back to God. Although there appears to be many roads that we can travel, there is only one way that will take us back to the one, true God. Sadly, most people never choose that road. Most people will choose at some level to play god themselves, and build their own spiritual road to heaven.
As with Adam and Eve, the quest for godhood and spiritual enlightenment has sparked the curiosity of many throughout the ages. These spiritual seekers have come to be known as 'gnostics', and their belief system as 'gnosticism'.
Today, gnosticism is known by many names, such as Theosophy, and the New Age Movement. But 'New Age' thinking is not so new. Its spiritual roots are in the Garden.
Gnostics seek a higher spiritual plane, and find it, through the 'divine spark' that they believe lies inherent in themselves and in every human being. The problem, they believe, is not a sinful humanity, but a slumbering humanity, who are totally unaware of who they really are, gods. Once 'awakened' to their own divinity, gnostics actively pursue the perfection of their souls through a smorgasbord of 'spiritual' foods readily available today in the marketplaces of our 'global village'. Gnostics are ever-evolving and ascending into the perfection of godhood. It does not matter where gnostics are in their spiritual journey, for once they have been gloriously 'awakened', they become spiritual giants, who walk amongst the common masses of humanity.
Gnosticism's appeal is timeless, playing to our human nature in two very important ways: by enticing our curiosity and inflating our pride. First, gnosticism promises the revelation of deeper spiritual knowledge that is hidden from the common, “less spiritual” masses. Then gnosticism promises spiritual perfection, even personal divinity, to those willing to follow its teachings. In this way, the gnostic can enjoy a spiritual ‘elitism’, gained by his willingness to open himself up to hidden knowledge and his willingness to turn from old, 'simplistic' spiritual beliefs, what ever they may be.
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3
(1) Court Refuses Ten Commandments Case, Anne Gearan, Associated Press, updated 5/29/2001