Was Calvin a Theocrat or a Platonist?

Post-moderns Christians read both the Bible and the Reformers with a post-modern worldview, which is not only materialist but employs a fact value distinction. Materialism is

 is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are identical with material interactions.

Post-modern Christians are materialists in the sense that they believe in Jesus, but essentially believe in “Carl Sagan’s universe,” as CR Wiley put it: the universe and matter is all there is. There is no invisible realm of angles, demons, principalities, powers or authorities.

Post-moderns also reason using a fact-value distinction, which means you can’t derive ought from is. Transgenderism results from a fact-value distinction. Transgenders reason they can be whatever gender they want and it doesn’t matter whether their biological sex is male or female. When Christians reason this way, it might go like this, “Just because there’s an invisible realm doesn’t mean I ought to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come…'”

The Reformers, like Calvin didn’t reason this way at all. They were Platonists since Plato essentially describes the Biblical cosmos consisting of a visible and invisible realm and the typological nature of the visible realm to the invisible realm which is the greater reality. The visible world will be “heavenified” at the Day of Judgment by the invisible realm purified of evil. The visible cosmos is therefore only typological in the sense that it will give way to the greater reality. Consequently, they didn’t maintain a sharp distinction between heaven and earth or the Kingdom of God and the City of Man though they affirmed both. What is done on earth matters in heaven. Jesus even said this to his disciples in Matthew 18:18. Jesus tells other parables that indicate that what we do here on earth matters in the consummated Kingdom after the last trumpet.

This carried over to their advice to civil magistrates also. Every European magistrate claimed to be a Christian, so the advice of the Reformers to many magistrates was to act like a Christian. Advice was often taken from the theocratic period of the people of God when they lived in Israel under the Mosaic economy. This is a mistake, reason many post-modern theologians since Israel was sui generis and therefore typological of the New Heavens and New Earth. “Exactly,” a Platonist would say, “There’s a correspondence between the visible and invisible. What you do in the visible realm matters in the invisible realm and what matters in the invisible realm should matter in the visible.

Blasphemy laws worked this way and Reformers advocated them reasoning, wow can you allow man to blaspheme God the invisible Creator if you punish men for speaking against a visible King? Isn’t God greater than the king? “See, Calvin was a theocrat!” argue post-modern theologians. No, he was a Platonist: the invisible realm was the greater, more important reality to keep in mind during life in the visible, present evil age. (I am, btw, against blasphemy laws since they are a tool of tyrants everywhere. Our new secular blasphemy laws are just awful. )

Herman Bavinck on Men and Women

Bavinck wrote against feminism in 1908. His work was only translated into English in 2012. He is saying the same things that CS Lewis, Chesterton, and many others from the Anglosphere wrote after him. Here we are 100 years later and feminism is still going stronger than ever. Why? If you can pit men against women and remove power from men in their own households, it’s a great tool of control, isn’t it? Think of the men who cower before the State when women take their kids and half their wealth in state-enforced divorce settlements. Unsurprisingly, men are reluctant to marry nowadays. Sex differences are themselves a law and the State legal system doesn’t like competition, so the State has every incentive to remove this competition.

Calvinists are supposed to understand this law. It’s embedded in our standards in numerous places. In fact, it’s a heinous sin to violate it. Consider WLC 150 and 151:

Question 150: Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
Answer: All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
Question 151: What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
Answer: Sins receive their aggravations, From the persons offending: if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common good of all or many. From the nature and quality of the offense: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, wilfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance. From circumstances of time and place: if on the Lord’s day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

It’s against the light of nature for women to go to war or work in male professions – those which require male attributes to perform competently. This includes most of engineering, law, law enforcement, and the trades which require male strength and ingenuity. In my experience, I see few women performing these jobs competently, or at least as well as a man could. Where is the condemnation of feminism from our clergy? Mostly absent. This is not a small problem. It aims at the very heart of God’s design in Genesis 1 and 2.

Dr. Carlson on the household economy

Dr. Allan Carlson and many others have made an excellent case our collapse is due more to the Industrial Revolution than any other cause. I highly recommend People of the Abyss by Jack London to see the extreme effects of the Industrial Revolution in England. Carlson recommends government policy changes in favor of the family. I just don’t see this happening from the top-down since all the financial incentives are against it. Rather, we must figure this out how to recover household economies and governance on our own. Since it is God’s design, we can pray for God’s help and get it. More and more, I am convinced that the moribund Wesphalian nation-state system in general and the United States – its chief enforcer – in particular are against family and for international bankers and corporate entities that skim off wealth for the elite. The Peace of Westphalia was a great solution to the 30 Years’ War, but solutions of the past are the problems of the future. 1648 was about 372 years ago. Every epoch of history has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think it’s time for this one to end.

Adapting to Third World Life

California is rounding the base at Second World and heading towards Third World. “Home-base” may be defined as re-joining Mexico as a vassal of China. Third world life consists of poor infrastructure, sanitation, and access to capital with high concentrations of wealth and power among the elite and a bureaucracy that skims the rest. Given the Silicon Valley plutocratic insurgency, the $1 trillion in unfunded public pension obligations, the $100 billion in deferred road maintenance, and the resurgence of typhus and other flea-borne illnesses spread by rats in vagrant camps, you could make a credible argument that California is already there.

This week added a new dimension to our infrastructure collapse: two-day power outages affecting much of Northern California. PG&E shut down much of our power grid due to a “red flag warning” by the National Weather Service. We had high winds and low humidity for an evening which allows fire to spread easily. Of course, PG&E never shut off power during these conditions before. It’s only now that they’ve been sued into bankruptcy that they’re taking fire prevention more seriously, and only in a way that’s convenient for them. They’re not, for example, lobbying for better logging regulations nor trimming trees back from power lines nor installing lines that resist higher winds nor encouraging the public to accept acts of God more manfully. This is the other aspect of Third World life that I didn’t mention above: constant CYA and lying from public officials with promises to do better next time and credulity by a whiny, gullible public.

Our government is really a perfect reflection of us. Nowhere is this more true than California: the Land of Fruits, Nuts, and Flakes. It’s finally catching up with us as the infrastructure built by hyper-competent men in the 20th century is decaying and we don’t have the civilization to replace it. As a citizen, there’s little you can do but adapt. Third Worlders typically adapt to power outages by using a lot less power which means fewer appliances and by installing backup generators and a transfer switch to run their house off it.. How many extra appliances do you have in your house that you don’t need such as coffee makers, Keurig machines, etc? Eliminate them. Start grinding coffee at the store or at home by hand and making it in a French press with a tea kettle. What about refrigeration? I’m not sure about this but I imagine that’s the one thing you want to keep running ina power outage. Electric lighting is another great convenience of modern life. Do you have backup lanterns? What about heat? Bundle-up and increase insulation. Maybe a backup propane tank to run your heater is a good idea. People in favelas tend to cook on gas since chopping trees is a huge PITA unless you live on a rural wooded lot (do you have property?)

In the Third World, you often can’t drink the water. This means installing a reverse-osmosis purifier somewhere or buying drinking water. Lastly, if sanitation goes bad, cholera becomes epidemic. Much of the Third World seems to actually deal with this problem by at least flushing waste untreated into the ocean. Home-based solutions include composting toilets and septic systems. Beyond that, you’re digging a pit and putting an outhouse over it. There are a lot of things to do, but start by fixing what’s affecting you now and at least research what you’ll do if the other systems go out. Use the rule of 3 as a guide: you can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter (for protection from hypothermia and heat exhaustion), 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.

Update: I’m going to miss the indoor plumbing as well.

The Elite are Almost Always on the Wrong Side of History

God puts his enemies in power and gives them a lot of wealth. They are elite. The elite thank God for their wealth and power by raging against Him and the goodness of His created order. Starting in 1619 at Jamestown, the elite owned white and black slaves. In New England starting in 1620, the Puritan elite were on “God’s side” but somehow this resulted in the displacement of all the Eastern tribes and the eventual ethnic cleansing of all Indians in the expanding territory of the United States for the next 250 years. Even when the Indians were given reservations and lands by the government, it was with fingers-crossed. The Elite colluded in post-Civil War era to establish Jim Crow and crush Black economic and civic power. In the first half of the 20th century, they blundered into two world wars. They embraced eugenics. They made policy that whipped everyone off the farms and into the cities. Then in the second half of the 20th century, they got us into Vietnam, made infanticide national policy, put the last nails in the coffin of the family, and made infanticide national policy. Toward the turn of the 20th century they worked on establishing homosexual marriage and, having railroaded that through the Supreme Court despite its defeat in every popular vote, they’re working on normalizing transgenderism and pedophilia. They’ve also brought back slavery in all but name.

For this, they will all answer to God sooner or later. God puts the elite in charge to rule. With great power comes great responsibility and accountability. Most elite fail to call God “Father.” Rather, they answer to their lord and master the Devil. So it was in Jesus’ day, so it is in ours.

What is standard of living?

If you’re Generation Z, you’re probably wondering if you’re going to have the same standard of living as your parents. If you’re a Millennial, for the most part, you know you’re not. Materially, you may even be better-off since the government has pushed more and more debt-backed USD into the economy which has trickled down to you. You may have used it to gain assets like property, notes, or securities. But in the back of your mind, you know the material things are no substitute for what our parents grew up with immediately post-WWII: new infrastructure, community, friendship, strong institutions, and the bonds of citizenship with other Americans. These are things that money simply can’t buy. Our parents also had much-lower costs, particularly in college tuition and health care. Then there was the post-WWII business climate bequeathed to the Boomers by the Silent Generation which practiced a noblesse oblige towards this nation and its families by developing this nation’s technological and industrial base and paying high wages. This, too, has disappeared and can’t be bought nor brought back.

In every other metric besides the economy approximated by the DJIA and the ability to consume Chinese junk, standard of living is already much lower than it was for our parents and even grandparents who lived through both the Great Depression and fought in WWII. This is cultural collapse. The good news is that the elements of standard of living that cannot be bought are also free. You can establish relationships with your neighbors by inviting them over. You can have your kids play out in the street together. You can form small towns of 2-3 extended families on rural properties just like they have in Europe. You can build your own house to your specs for cheap even without ties to the Grid. You can find ways to make money outside the Corporate GloboHomo regime. You can send your kids to Christian school or homeschool them. You can find a good church and attend. You can create your own Benedict Option.

The invisible realm and why you should pray

I’ve been reading Michael Heiser’s excellent The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. If you haven’t read this book, stop everything you’re doing and buy it right now. Western Christians used to have this worldview and we need to recover it immediately if we want a new Reformation because it was the worldview of the Reformers and every Christian up until recently. Consider the words of Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is our God, which explain this worldview and our resulting duties succinctly:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

We cannot win battles in the visible realm without winning them in the invisible realm through prayer because we are weak. Christians in the global south understand this. For example, Africans still believe in an invisible realm of angels, demons, devils, and witches. They know the spiritual battle is the more-important one and that the physical battle cannot be won without winning it in the spiritual domain first. This is why God’s Kingdom is growing exponentially there. This doesn’t just apply to evangelism or building the Kingdom, though every action of a Christian towards the glory of God builds the Kingdom. It also applies to daily life or movements of peoples and physical struggles. The American patriots of 1776 understood this. Not only did they have stable families, household economies, and churches, but they also understood the need for victory in the invisible realm through prayer. They proceeded only when they sensed the approval from God. When you have God’s blessing and the Holy Spirit’s help, physical efforts feel easy – like you’re working but making almost no effort. Our first national anthem by William Billings confirms this:

It sounds banal, but pray. Western Christians pray on average only 4 minutes per day. This confirms we don’t even believe in an invisible realm but think the material cosmos is all there is. We’ve been programmed to think this way by our surrounding culture who looks into the universe and sees no God. It should not be so for us. Luther prayed 6-8 hours per day, as did other giants of the faith. James the Lord’s brother prayed so much that his knees developed knobs. Their accomplishments in the physical realm depended entirely on the spiritual battles on their knees. Pray.