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The foundations of Western civilization rest squarely upon its Judeo-Christian roots. While Greece and Rome contributed to that foundation, their contributions were housed and contextualized in the theological shell of the church’s interpretation of Scripture. Granted, the Church did stumble more than once, to be kind. Nevertheless, the early fathers gave to the world a gift of immeasurable value with their probings into the implications of the principles of God modeled in the reality of the Trinitarian monotheistic Godhead. Indeed, in this day of terrorism, historical revisionism, and post-modern tolerance and subjectivity, we would be wise to consider three cornerstones of the Trinitarian foundations undergirding the upsides of our Western civilization.
1) The Separation Of Powers: While God is by definition sinless, His functioning in council within Himself (Genesis 1:26-7) models for us not only the concept of community, but also a separation of applied power emanating from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three of them wield different dimensions of applied power, as even a cursory study of Scripture reveals. How appropriate that is for us humans living in a fallen world where the consolidation of power in a single human being or institution remains both a historical disaster and imminent danger to human freedom. If indeed, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton), then the separation of powers modeled by God Himself brilliantly directs as God modeling for us what we need. The governmental separation of powers (executive, legislative, judicial) came not from human reason, Islam, or any Eastern religion but from observing God’s revelation of Himself. Any religion or political theory consolidating power (usually in centralized government) is carrying us into rebellion, fragmentation, and ultimately war. Beyond the political lesson of God’s modeling a check-and-balance dialogue, He modeled in male-female creation, diversity, and complementarian need.
2) The Division Of Labor: If modern Democracy is built upon the foundation of separated powers, then the modern economy that has continued to radically change man’s lifestyle rests squarely upon God’s modeling within Himself the concept of the division of labor. Once again, the study of Scripture gives us multiple examples of God functioning out of His tripartite nature doing particular things through the particular aspects of Himself. The Western world gave the rest of humanity the possibility of modern prosperity for all mankind. God modeled it, but initial capitalism used the concept to unite repetitive labor to diversified marketing and diversified consumption.
3) Free, Competitive Communication: “Choice” is the ultimate definition of freedom, productivity, and gradual maturation. God gives man choice and satanic humanity is constantly trying to minimize choice. Choice defines and reveals our values. While, in Christ, choice is to be exercised in the context of “loving our neighbor” (community), choice forces us to deal with cause and effect and the results of good and evil, life and death (Deut. 30:15,19). Radical Islam, like communism, fascism, and all forms of absolute authoritarianism, seeks to eliminate choice beyond the smallest circle of tyrants. It is Jesus who says to the world, “Whoever will may come” (Rev 22:17).
As our battle with centralization and elimination of freedom of speech or religion moves ever closer, we would do very well to remember the model God has given us in true Christianity. Jesus will continue to shine every brighter as the pretenders reveal more and more of who they really are. And that is… THE BOTTOM LINE.