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"Mythologizing" a De-Mythologized Passage

It was popular a few decades ago to speak of "de-mythologizing" Scripture -- at least among those who hated the Bible. They would cut out all the supernatural aspects of the Bible -- Jesus' miracles, His deity, angels, demons, and other "myths" -- and then claim to have gotten to the "true message" of the New Testament.

Conservative Christians have "de-mythologized" Romans 13.

Everything Romans 13 meant to the Romans has been suppressed; an amazing array of supernatural figures and relationships has been forgotten. We need to try to recover the perspective which the Apostle Paul shared with his Roman readers.

The State:  The Religion of Man

The formation of the State in Genesis 10 was the formation of a new religion. The formation of the State was an act of rebellion. We have attempted to spell this out in previous papers. Let us briefly restate what we saw there.

When Cain, and following him, Nimrod, apostatized, they left the Household of Faith to form a new social organization under a new religious perspective. They were fleeing Godly men and Godly society. Life under Adam (for Cain), or under Noah (for Nimrod), was under God and His Word. Life under Cain and under Nimrod has been widely seen to be life away from Biblical patriarchy and under a new form of order, which has been called the "State." Nimrod's Empire, Babylon, has thus ever been the epitome of the State and of the Godless enemies of the People of God (Micah 5:6; I Peter 5:13; Revelation 17-18).

"Conservative" Humanism has long defended the State, and when it sought Biblical support, has alleged the institution of the State in the laws concerning the shedding of the blood of capital criminals (Genesis 9:4-6). But this was a Family-based power; it was given "unto Noah and his sons," not to something called "the State."

There was no "State" in Israel until I Samuel 8. It could also be said there was no "church." Israel's social order was Family-centered. Israel itself was considered to be a Family, the "Household" of God. All Israelites looked upon themselves as sons of Abraham; the Gospel was a Gospel of "Adoption." When the people rebelled and rejected God, asking for a king, they were importing the trappings and humanistic power of the State from the nations around them, Babelic descendants of Nimrod. This concept of a State was brought alongside Israel's Patriarchal social order. This generated (or, rather, moved toward "epistemological self-consciousness") conflict between God (Family) and Satan (State -- or as Rushdoony calls it, "The Society of Satan").

The implications of this early Biblical record of social and religious apostasy are staggering. A decentralized Patriarchal social order under God's Law must be contrasted with a centralized polis-based order. This is in fact the contrast between God's people (the Church) and apostates (the State).

The Liturgical State

In the pre-Christian world Israel claimed to be Holy based on God's Presence and calling. Out of Israel radiated concentric circles of holiness: the Holiest of Holies, the tabernacle, the camp, outside the camp, with holiness decreasing and uncleanness increasing with distance from God's Presence. Yet in complete denial of this truth, all ancient empire-states claimed to be holy, in direct contact with the Source of cosmic power. Religion was a public (political) function.

Now, in post-Christian times, we see the reversal of this. King Jesus, through His life and priestly work on the Cross, has definitively cleansed the entire world, and all is in principle sanctified and consecrated to the service of His Kingdom. Now (wouldn't you know it) all empire-states claim to be "secular." Whereas before, in the age of limited holiness, all empires claimed/imitated true holiness and were thus religious at root, now, in the face of Christ's total, world-wide victory and sanctification of the world as God's Garden-Temple, the empires claim non-religious "scientific" neutrality. (At least when it's convenient; Secularism is a pseudo-religion.)

Egypt is a compelling example of the Religious Empire. Rushdoony notes that

The Egyptian language had no word for 'state.' [And note the absence of the word in the Bible -- kc] The word state is too limited to express divine order which their land, government and ruler expressed. What for us would be slavery to the state meant for them divine order and man's only hope. Man could not transcend that social order; beyond it or outside it, he was nothing. It was his life. A man might frret at his conditions, but anything outside of his life in teh state was for him unimaginable. This faith was written by the vizier Rekhmire in his tomb: "What is the king of Upper and Lower Egypt? He is a god by whose dealings one lives, the father and mother of all men, alone by himself without an equal." The state was the expression not only of the will of the gods but of the power of nature. Religion being completely ientified with the life of the state, man was man not in terms of a transcendantal God but only in terms of a divine state and its social order. Man's happiness was in harmony with this order. (World History Notes, p. 13)

For them, the state was not one institution among many but rather the essence of the divine order for life. . . . Life therefore was totally and inescapably statist." (The One & The Many, p. 44)

"Totally and inescapably statist," because totally and inescapably relgious.   This was the nature of all States in the ancient world. They were overtly religious. They claimed a continuity of being, or a communication between the underworld, the earth, and the heavens. The State was the divine mediator. Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, all claimed to be what in fact only Israel could be called -- the locus of God's communication with man. Ancient empires claimed to be truly religious.

It is necessary to recognize, with Rushdoony, that

throughout most of history, the state has been the religious order of man and the central vehicle of his religious life, and this is no less true today than in ancient Greece. We are accustomed to thinking of the church as the religious institution, and the state as simply the political ordering of man's life, but such thinking is at the very least erroneous and certainly guilty of accepting the framework of the myth (of the modern secular state). The ancient polis, city-state, or kingdom was at all times a religious body, and, more than that, the religious organization of life. The ruler's office was holy: he was a royal or civil priest, and religion was the life of the state. The very word liturgy is derived from the Greek leitourgia, the original meaning of which was (1) a public office undertaken by a citizen at his own expense, as his service to the body politic and (2) any service, as military service, of workmen, or of that service done to nature in the cohabitation of man and wife. The word was clearly religious: a liturgy was a public work done to promote the social and natural order. The leitourgos was a public minister, a servant of the state, or of the king.
The state was thus the religious ordering of society, and, as a result, each state was one church, holding a common faith, and no religious cults could flourish in a state without the permission of the state and without recognizing the state or its ruler as the mediator and divine lord. To have other gods meant to be in conspiracy for the overthrow of the body politic, of the visible god of that area, the state and its ruler. (The Christian Idea of the State, pp. vii-viii)

No one has noted more forcefully than Rushdoony that this was precisely this kind of conspiracy in which the early Christians were engaged. They refused to bow to another god. Jesus was Lord.

Failure to understand this has led to a misunderstanding of the history of the early church. Had the church recognized the sovereign and mediatorial role of the emperor and the City of Rome, it would have gained recognition as a legitimate cult. Legge was right in stating that the Christian's refusal was looked upon 'as a political offense.' To deny the religious priority of the State was an act of treason. (Id.)

In proclaiming Himself the True King, the only Emperor, Jesus was conspiring to overthrow the polis. He was executed for treason as an anarchist. Yet He rose, was enthroned, and Babylon has indeed fallen.

The conflict between "Church" and "State" is thus a war between two religions: Dominion Religion vs. Power Religion: Decentralized Patriarchal Service vs. Centralized Political Control.

The religious nature of the State and the blasphemy of emperor-worship was part of the perspective Paul shared with his Roman readers.

The Supernatural State

But the Apostle Paul also understood the dominant view of the State as a supernatural entity. "The State" -- were that word to be used by Paul -- would carry a meaning of more than just the emperor and his henchmen, but a myriad of demonic forces which the Bible associates with the State, and which all ancient men associated in some form with the State. The pagan view of the State was certainly not an accurate picture of the Biblical view, but a perverse exploitation of God's revelation for the purposes of polis-power. The Bible does not deny that there are demonic forces associated with Empire, it only says not to put our trust in them. The pagans listened when they were told about the demons; they did not listen when they were told not to worship them.
Statism is the worship of power from below.

Clinton Morrison's important survey of recent interpretations of "the powers" in Paul's writings contains a summary of the spiritual forces which the ancient world universally linked to the State. The Roman world was a "syncretistic" world, that is, one which drew from all corners to form a composite world-and-life view. We must therefore look at the ancient Near-Eastern view of the State in the Cosmos. We shall follow Morrison's discussion in The Powers That Be.

The Syncretism of the Universal State

"The key word, at least the one most commonly used, for the Hellenistic period is syncretism" (p. 69). "Syncretism" is the attempt to merge or combine differing religious beliefs. The Roman world was a combination of all sorts of religious and cultural beliefs. This was because Rome was the universal state, continually incorporating all peoples under its imperial mantle. The Empire was truly a commercial and cultural "melting pot."

More than a uniting of nations, Rome was the Cosmic State. The trade-off between "the one and the many" was fundamental. The ultimate power State could only arise in a community vacuum. Lack of personal ties and the destruction of the Family created a vast, atomistic sand heap of men, easily unified by the collectivist State.

Lacking any real unity of cultural tradition or religious heritage, the peoples of this period shared in the new and growing universalism which appears to have revealed the inadequacy of older nationalistic and cultural limitations of that period. Individualism . . . was the dominant feature of the age . . . not so much from the greatness of individuals as from the weakness of society. Men were no longer a part of anything except the universe (emphasis in original). (p. 69)

Political universalism caused

the great alteration of civil life which appears to underlie the radical change in the outlook of the common man in the new world. This is particularly true with regard to his conception of the State in the Cosmos. [Significant is] the traffic in ideas and superstitions which flowed over the broken barriers of nation and tongue in the Hellenistic period. . . . The change which was realized in Hellenistic thought with regard to the State in the Cosmos [grew] out of the real and amazing transformation in the character of the political and social world. It was on the whole the radical development in the form and nature of the State which demanded a rethinking, not only of local and state political theory, but also, quite naturally for the ancient mind, although it may seem strange to us, of the character of the Cosmos. (p. 70)

Ancient Views of the State:
The Greco-Roman Background

Morrison points out that the word "exousiai" ("powers") did not mean either "spirits" or "civil magistrates," but more likely conveyed a unified relationship. The word did not mean both or either (e.g., in this passage it means "magistrate," in this passage it means "demons."). The idea was a unity.

"In the ancient East, cosmology was as closely related to the affairs of state as to the cycles of nature." (p. 71) This is why, as Rushdoony observed, "liturgical" works were works done both to State and to Nature. In Greco-Roman thought the State was an integral part of Nature, or, "the Cosmos." We might call this "political animism." "Animism" is the view that objects of Nature (rocks, trees, etc.) have spirits which govern them. (Closer examination shows that the objects of nature and the spirits are one. The distinction between the Creator and the creation is denied.) The first century Christians who read Paul's letter to the Romans were part of a culture which held to political animism: a religious political order; the belief that the State had divine, cosmic spirits behind it.

Babylonian Views of the State

In previous papers we explored the origin of non- patriarchal government and its demonic impetus. We traced the State back to Nimrod, the founder of Babel.

There the human State was but a secondary form within the cosmic State, presided over by a divine assembly which appointed mortals to rulership on earth. But that ruler remained subject to their favor, and not even a king was assured security.

The Mesopotamian cosmology was far more influential upon its contemporaries than the Egyptian, and the similarity between the old Mesopotamian divine assembly and our earlier discussion of folk angels is apparent(:)

[T]he affairs of state were affairs of the Cosmos. (p. 72)

Rushdoony cites Jacobson's articles, "The Cosmos as a State," and "The Function of the State," and concludes that in the Mesopotamian view, "the universe was a state, and earth should be a state." (The One and the Many, p. 52.)

The Egyptian Power Religion

Egypt was an evolutionary-political system. The Biblical doctrine of the Creator-creature distinction was, as in all evolutionary cosmologies, denied; the metaphysical unity of the universe was a promise of political godhead to evolving men. Morrison notes that

[I]n [Egypt] kingship, the rule of the pharaoh, the son and image of the [c]reator, was the guarantee of social stability through the integration of nature and society in an abiding harmony. In monophysite Egyptian thought the divinity of the king was specifically set forth for political purposes. (71)

Of course it was! Evolutionary Power Religion is a denial of the Creationist Service Religion of the Bible precisely in the attempt to "be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). The Egyptian doctrine of "exousiai" was thus a unity:

All reality was seen as one continuous whole. The world of the gods and the world of men and nature were one world with differing degrees of divinity manifested in different realms. Some were gods in the making, others gods already made, and both together were parts of one great natural process. All reality was thus basically one. . . . The Egyptian world view was thus uniformitarian. . . . (Rushdoony, Politics of Guilt and Pity, p. 48.)

Because we as Christians generally think in terms of the Creator-creature distinction, we do not readily understand the evolutionary union of political and spiritual forces. Moses' confrontation with Egypt gives us an example of the ancient conception. In Exodus 8 Moses is exhibiting God's power through the plagues. In verses 16-17 the dust of Egypt is turned to lice. Pharaoh's magicians, the ancient equivalent of the FDA, attempted to duplicate the miracle through pharmacological genetic manipulation, but without success (v. 18). "Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God" (v. 19). What did they mean by that? In Luke 11:20 Jesus says He cast out the demons "with the finger of God." The magicians recognized Who orders the powers. Gary North's conclusion is thus apt:

They recognized that they were dealing with supernatural power which was greater than their own, meaning a God who was more powerful than the gods of Egypt. By telling Pharaoh that the finger of God was the source of the power facing him, they were advising him to capitulate. (Moses & Pharaoh, pp. 105-106)

Thus, the term "gods" can be used not only of the Pharaohs, but of the demonic forces which empowered the Pharaoh and his court. And again, not that the word "god" can indicate "Pharaoh" in one text and "demon" in another, but that the Pharaohs ("gods") claimed a unity of being with cosmic powers ("gods"); the goal of the State was to have the civilians consider the Pharaoh on the same level as the powers (with the civilians promised the benefits of participating in this cosmic social order).

Hittites and the Divine State

Without repeating what was true for other near-Eastern empires, we note Morrison's observation that "It is understandable that the government and the nation's temple buildings should be identical, for affairs of state were part of the divine order of the Cosmos. (73).

The Greek Influence on Rome

Early Greek culture was somewhat different than the empires discussed above. The Greek polis at first represented humanistic patriarchy; it was an outgrowth of the religion of "the nuclear family." As such it was withdrawn and isolationist. Rushdoony quotes Fustel de Coulanges, in The Ancient City, who points out that

Greek culture was oriented to the family, and the basic religion was the family as the mystical bond of heaven and earth, as the cosmos. (One and the Many, p. 72

Although there was a "firm association between gods and the State," under the early polis, in that "Piety towards the gods bound the members of clan and State together in conscious union in relation to the higher powers," the picture is less like the Babylonian view than might at first seem. The polis was finite. Divinization was necessary. When Hellenistic universalism began to show that

the earth was at the heart of a vast universe, the polis theology was found inadequate, and a decided advantage was given to the oriental (read: Babylonian) religions whose cosmology was far more easily adapted to universal dimensions. The Greeks, who had made their gods an appendage to their polis, found the new universe too large a tail for so small a dog to wag. [Morrison, 74; "oriental" is to be distinguished from "Western," e.g., Rome and Greece. Israel's religion was "oriental" more than modern or "Western."]

The family gave way to the polis, the city-state, as the true cosmos, and law was an expression of the nature of that cosmos. The city-state was an organic and religious entity. The city-state was thus itself the cosmos, the order of being. (Rushdoony, One and Many, p. 72)

Rome turned the city-state into an Empire. The broken family was thus resurrected as an instrument of State control. The main currents of the diverse denominations of the Power Religion of Babel were picked up by the syncretistic Romans and formed into a composite world-and-life-view. The Babylonian Empire was again crushing the peoples under her foot (Revelation 17:5).

Main Currents in Greco-Roman Statism

Morrison discusses four elements of the Roman concept of the State which we must understand if we are to understand Paul's letter to the Romans: Power, Astrology, Monotheism, and Daimones (demons).

Power (dunameiV, dynameis)

"Man's concern with power in the world is as old as religious thought, but this idea achieved a new significance in the Hellenistic period, not merely among those who could yet be classed as 'primitive,' but with men of learning, e.g., Posidonius and Philo. Concern with power 'is a fundamental factor in the idea which late antiquity held of the world and nature . . . and forms the most marked difference between the earlier and later religion of Greece.' The earlier philosophical union of world principle and deity to produce a neutral kind of divinity took on personality and color in its contact with pagan religion. The various gods were associated with the dunameiV of the [o]mnipotent as personifications of his powers. The main feature of this development was the subjection of the Cosmos to the guardianship of powers." (p. 75)

Rushdoony has fully analyzed the tension between "rational" State planning and the metaphysical belief in ultimate chaos and "brute fact" (The One and the Many). Morrison adds,

Their mysteriousness was no longer to be dissipated by the concept of a cosmic order, but the Cosmos itself was absorbed by the mystery surrounding the powers which occupied human thought more and more as the deity withdrew to the borders of an expanding Cosmos; "The world is a manifestation (Erscheinung) of the powers working in her, through her, and upon her." In order to be effective one must know and co-operate with these "world-rulers" ["cosmocrats"]. (p. 75-76, note omitted, reference to kosmokratoraV in Eph. 6:12)

"In the higher religions the power concept served to explain the relationship between deity and the facts of world history and human destiny, but in the lower religions the belief in powers become the basis for the popular and growing belief in daimones, magic, amulets, etc. And in this animate Cosmos, where the wills of men were inferior as well as in the minority, it is not surprising that there should result what a modern scholar would consider a confounding of the natural world with the spiritual, a confusion of myth and history, a mixture of superstition and faith, of magic and religion. The ability of simple folk to disassociate a symbol from the power behind it was no greater in antiquity than today, when statues and medals enjoy a popular use beyond the bounds of the theology which sanctions them. Nilsson has cited Moschopoulos, a Byzantine author, who assessed the situation well:

You must know that the pagans (Hellenes, pagan Greeks) supposed that all that they saw possessed of power could not exercise that power without the superintendence of gods, and they called that which was possessed of power and its superintendent deity by the same name. Hence they used "Hephaistos" to mean the fire which serves us and the superintendent of the acts which are active by means of fire.

It is in the broad and popular concept of power in the Greco-Roman period upon which a number of the most characteristic beliefs of that age depend. Not only in general, but also in great detail the world was considered subject to the guardianship and authority of gods, spirits, and daimones; formulas, symbols, and special objects were treasured for their actual ability to influence these 'world rulers' and 'elemental spirits' with regard to the health prosperity, and social relationships of men who used them properly, and we cannot suppose that symbols and physical objects were always consciously distinguished from the invisible powers associated with them. It is precisely the dynamic character of the Hellenistic world which renders the vocabulary of that period so complex for us today; our modern effort to analyse words used in magical formulas and power concepts as either fact or fancy appears to be wholly unrealistic." (p. 76-77)

As applied to our study of Romans 13, this means that when we see the world "exousiai" we should think of both the civil magistrates and the spiritual guardians of the magistrates.


"'Astrology fell upon the Hellenistic mind as a new disease falls upon some remote island people;' its influence was thorough enough to include our concern with the State and the Cosmos. [] It was astrology from the East which filled in the gap left by an expanding universe and a static Greek religion. The fact that Babylon was the first to establish a scientific cosmic religion, broad enough to encompass world conquerors as well as displaced populations under the universal astral deities, played an important part in the appeal of oriental religions to a world which had burst the bonds of national religions and sought a more comprehensive and satisfying faith. From the beginning astrology belonged to the religious elements which were to characterize Hellenistic thought, and no popular movement was to escape its influence. 'Astrology revolutionized the world in which lived men with no tincture of philosophy by bringing them for the first time in touch with universals.'" (p. 77; notes omitted)

"The basis for astrology is the older belief in a correspondence between the activities of the gods above and events of human history below. Earlier we observed that this concept was integral to ancient oriental thought, and now we see that astrology built upon this ancient concept of correspondence which had its origin in the idea of the place of the State in the Cosmos." (pp. 77-78)

"Astrology spread far and wide, and became an integral part of the popular conception of the world, because it offered men the possibility of making sense of an environment which did not make sense by itself. [] From the hopeful aspect of astrology they concluded that there was some kind of order and established authority in the Cosmos." (p. 78)

"It was the belief in correspondence and order dominated by heavenly powers which was of particular significance with regard to the Graeco-Roman conception of the State in the Cosmos. [] Plutarch [held that] 'rulers are ministers of God for the care and safety of mankind, that they many distribute or hold in safe keeping the blessings and benefits which God gives to men. . . .' Plutarch accepted a view in which daimones presided over whole lands. He also recorded that Caesar's guardian daimon was mightier than Pompey's. This compares very closely with what has been considered the Jewish conception of folk angels. Demonology was important for Plutarch as a means of understanding the order of the world." (pp. 79-80, + footnote; citations omitted)

"[T]o the unlearned man the universal rulers, emperors and powers, appeared to have more in common than they had differences. The seat of imperial authority was so far removed that it belonged to the universal order. How the emperor, as a deputy in that system, compared with other beings appointed to authority and invested with power, could have been merely an academic matter. (pp. 79-80)

"It has been important for us to consider the place of astrology in Graeco-Roman thought because: (1) It was one of the most significant characteristics of thought in this period, with a wide cultural, intellectual, and religious appeal. (2) It was based upon, and became the medium for the propagation of, the idea of correspondence in a united cosmic order. Here it became closely integrated with the idea of power, discussed above, and a coherent Weltanschauung became possible. (3) There is strong evidence that an important political philosophy and a wide range of popular thought associated the world empire and cosmic order after the pattern of the older oriental theory discussed above. (4) Astrological interest in universal harmony permeated the cosmic context within which politics and the emperor were viewed, and belief in rulers as 'ministers of God for the care and safety of mankind' was only natural to men for whom 'world rulers,' spiritual and civil, were instruments of divine Providence.

"In short, astrology, as a principal factor in Graeco-Roman thought, was of decisive significance in giving a cosmic dimension to affairs of state in the thought of that period. This is not to say that men could not think of kings or government without thinking of stars, but that astrology had so accustomed men to think in terms of cosmic unity and correspondence that the world State and its ruler were quite naturally assumed to be a part of the universal order. (p. 80)

"The power of the popular mind is too easily unappreciated because it was not literary. Yet we may observe that Zeno and Epicurus, both uncompromising thinkers who constructed complete philosophical systems almost free from popular superstitions, finally admitted the spiritual powers because the consensus supported belief in them." (p. 82)


"As has been evident already, an important phase in the development of Graeco-Roman religious thought has been the tendency toward monotheism. [A.D. Nock's important article, "The Emperor's Divine Comes," contains this analogy:]

Godhead was one; there were many telephone lines and they ran through a number, smaller but appreciable, of switchboards. You used one or another according to what seemed appropriate for a particular purpose or place; a comes gave you the equivalent of private line.

As indicated above, the popular concept of the universe's subjection to the vassals of one god was in terms of the powers. This form of monotheism was encouraged by a contemporary science 'which made no distinction between physical and occult forces . . . the latter being the more important.'" (p. 81)

This movement towards monotheism is consistent with Rushdoony's analysis concerning "the unity of the godhead" and the United Nations (Politics of Guilt and Pity, pp. 186-93). It is strikingly confirmed when Morrison points out that the religious systems are determined by the political systems:

"As the physical and occult forces blended and religion was hardly distinguishable from magic in this period, the documents of learned ancients upon whom we must depend should not lead us to consider the place of the State in that ancient world as any less a part of its dynamic and vital unity. While astrology's emphasis upon correspondence between heaven and earth served to draw the State into an integrated universe, the monotheistic character of that order was no less directly derived from the contemporary political system.

It is beyond doubt that the monarchical government of the State, which had been the prevailing form since the Hellenistic period began, and particularly since the Roman Empire became a really world-wide domination, contributed largely to promote monotheism. For the world of the gods is everywhere, in pagan religion, modeled after the constitution of the State. . . . The monarchical and well-organized form of the State under the Emperors made the idea appear natural that the universe was controlled by a supreme Governor enthroned in the heavens. (note omitted)

Again we see that the State not only existed in the Cosmos, but played a decisive part in understanding the character of the universe. [Stauffer, in Christ and the Caesars, p. 21f. writes,] '"The Myth of the Empire" comprehended "the whole of history, in nature and in humanity, in heaven and on earth . . . as the history of the Empire.'" (p. 82; emphasis added)

Philosophers have long been supported by the State in its universities and churches. The Empire undoubtedly profited from the religious and philosophical writers who constructed a view of the universe consistent with the goals of the Empire.


Morrison goes on to discuss the concept of demons (daimones) and emperor-worship. We shall discuss this extremely important concept in another paper.

What needs to be done at this point is to summarize and apply Morrison's research to the State in Romans 13.

It is clear that Paul adopts a view of the Cosmos which is very similar to the view which dominated the Roman world. This is because the pagan world always and necessarily presupposes Biblical truth in order to destroy it. Biblical concepts are always appropriated in a perverse way, as the writings of Meredith Kline lead us to suspect that ancient Near-Eastern treaty forms were expropriated from Biblical Covenant language. The Biblical conception of the State as controlled by angelic (or demonic) forces was used by pagan States to buttress their power. A monotheistic concept of an animated, spiritual universe is used to support a monarchical power State. Emperor-worship is perversely monotheistic.

But is this the same concept of the universe and of God that the Bible presents? Unequivocally, NO! It is a perverse mirror image, is it not? The anti-parallels seem to go on forever. Caesar says that there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby men may be saved that that of Caesar Augustus. What does the Apostle Peter say? "There is none other name under heaven given among mane, whereby we must be saved, than the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (Acts 4:12,10). This is matter and anti-matter; it is "contrary to the decrees of Caesar;" "there is another king, one Jesus!" (Acts 17:7). The preaching of the Apostles, precisely because it took the myths of the Roman State and reversed them, turned the Roman Empire upside down (Acts 17:6).

Paul similarly turns the Roman view of the State upside down. It is a deliberate assault on the State, using anti-imagery. Whereas Rome held that the powers were monotheistically integrated in the Emperor to the eternal blessing of the Empire, Paul says the true God is going to destroy these rivals (I Corinthians 15:24-25). Whereas the Imperial Court jesters -- excuse me: "philosophers" -- held that emperors are ministers of an ultimately unknowable god which brings order and prosperity to the empire, for the perpetual good of mankind, Paul says that the powers are tools of the God he has been describing throughout his letter: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, the God of Isaiah the prophet who declared, with Paul, that the disobedient emperors of the world are controlled and ordered by God as instruments of his wrath (not prosperity) and whose effects can be (and hopefully will be) avoided by our obedience to God's Law. Whereas the pagan world took a positive view of the State as ministers of an impersonal god unto the prosperity of the empire, the Bible takes a view of the State as servants of an infinite-personal God Who will put down these evil empires and establish a world under His Law.

Just as the full impact of Peter's declaration in Acts 4:12 cannot be appreciated without reference to the beliefs of the Romans, so Paul's optimism concerning the downfall of the State in I Corinthians 15:24-25 and Romans 13:1-10 and 11-12 cannot be obeyed when it is turned into a tool for the prosperity of Babylon.

The Romans of the first century understood Paul because he used their language. "The powers that be" are ordered by God -- not just any god, but the Triune God of Scripture. And not for the benefit of Caesar's kingdom, but for the benefit of Christ's Kingdom, and for His glory.

Christian "Anarchism" is Our Goal  | |  All Evil is Predestined by God   | |  Pray for a Servant's Understanding  | |  Angels and God's Throne of Government  | |  Stars and Idolatry  | |  Why the State Always Encourages Immorality  | |  Unlucky 13 -- Romans 13, Revelation 13 and Isaiah 13  | |   A Roman's-Eye View of Romans 13  | |  "Principalities and Powers"  | |  Lakes of Fire in "Smoke-Filled Rooms"  | |  Romans 13: The Burden is on the Archists  | |  Taxation, Representation, and the Myth of the State  | |   Why the State is not a "Divine Institution"   | |  Angels and Autarchy  | |  95 Theses Against the State   | |   Here is what a Christian Anarchist looks like after he has joined The Christmas Conspiracy.

Christmas Conspiracy


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