But Where Is the Soul?
“But what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” -Mark 8:36,37
Are atom, molecules, elements, and physical energy all there is? True evolution and modern science so-called have in common basic materialistic presuppositions. Materialism is simply the idea that the “Cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all there will be.” (Carl Sagan)
The world in the twentieth century, especially during the social revolution of the 1960's, was seduced by the siren of materialism, which was supposed to explain everything.
Even before the revolution of the 1960's, materialism had dominated the thought of modern science. Men had wildly dreamed of being able to explain all phenomenon on the earth in terms of it. Consciousness itself would be explained in terms of electrical and chemical impulses. The sober editors of Time Books wondered in the 70's whether or not the elementary beginnings of consciousness were even then lurking in the circuits of computer mainframes.
Materialism had gained control of the universities and the legal institutions of America and elsewhere, but the full implication of that control had not yet been felt. In the generation following the 60's that impact would be felt with a vengeance.
Materialism not only gives us evolution (Man is formed by impersonal forces acting on material over long periods of time without any design or purpose, but only by chance), destruction of morals (Material knows no right or wrong. Where there is no purpose there can be no morality); relativism in law (People are genetically disposed to behave in a certain way); and irrationalism and subjectivity in religion (Rationality disappears when purpose is denied, but you can believe in God if you want to, if it makes you feel good and causes you to be subservient to all-wise government).
Thus are fulfilled the words of our Lord Jesus quoted above. Although there have been tremendous material benefits reaped by some because of materialistic philosophy, the result has been devastating to the souls of men.
Man is not just a hunk of matter, a machine operating according to physical processes determined by chance. People know this instinctively. This is the reason that 91% of the American people reject true evolutionary premises. There are some things about man that just cannot be explained by physical processes.
Materialism cannot explain the difference between Shakespeare and pornography. We have wrestled with the problem since censorship laws were repealed in the 60's and 70's, and filth flooded our cities.
If matter is all there is, then a book is something made out of paper and ink, and all books are the same. All movies are thus the same, and all messages on the internet are the same. You as an individual may choose to follow your religious delusions in terms of values, but your values cannot be imposed on anyone else, because values cannot be determined by materialistic presuppositions. If the Cosmos is all there is, values are simply individual choices, and at the most give private pleasure. What pleasures you might be something quite different from what pleasures someone else. Only the individual can decide.
Do Genetics Determine Morals?
The same is true of morals, for materialism knows no difference between lifestyles. If a man is simply the product of his genes, then he is programmed by them to behave a certain way. The sodomite is so programmed, as in the drunkard, the thief, and the saint. Who is to say that one lifestyle is superior to another?
This writer is the father of identical twin sons. They are genetically the same. When they were babies, only the most experienced could tell them apart. But how different they are! I dearly love them both, but anyone who knows them realizes that the person who lives in one body is not the same as the person who lives in the other body. Yet they grew up in the same home, ate the same food, were disciplined alike, and read the same books, listened to the same music, and had the same friends. How do you explain their differences on materialistic ground? I would not want them to be the same, even though they are genetic equals.
What is it in a man that enables him to discern between the beautiful and the ugly? Since the materialist revolution, the ugly prevails. The grotesque, the weird, the ugly gets equal time with the beautiful. Who are you to say that your preferences are better than someone else? There is no soul in the world of materialism.
Materialism gave us the sexual revolution, for materialism knows nothing of love, commitment, faithfulness, and honor. “Laugh In” and other comedy shows routinely made fun of such things, of culture, of decency. Love was defined downward in terms of momentary physical contact.
In the materialistic jungle, there is no difference between the mating of humans and the mating of fruit flies.
Materialism destroyed patriotism and love of country. In a materialistic world there is no difference between freedom and slavery, and wars for freedom become the equal of wars of totalitarianism. Hitler and Churchill become equal.
Wars to maintain liberty were re-defined as efforts to impose our culture on others. In a materialistic world, such things as liberty and freedom cannot be defined, and therefore do not exist. Freedom became redefined in terms of materialistic pre-suppositions: the right to do as you please, certainly not the right to think, to worship, to love beauty and truth. It became the right to utter vulgarities, defy convention, to mock and honor and decency. Television programs such as “Mash” carried forward the revolution. All men were equal, for to fight for one cause is as meaningless in a materialistic world as to fight for another.
Materialism changes the concept of law.
Instead of holding men responsible for their actions (for who can be responsible for materialist phenomenon?), law become incessant tinkering with the environment, a materialistic meddling in people's affairs in an attempt to program them to behavior that is desired by a self-appointed elite. Men become obsessed with food, water, air, medical care for the body, or economic equality. Why not, if we are the product of what we eat and drink? The brave new world comes with government regulation of material. But the regulations themselves are the product of programmed responses in terms of evolution and must be constantly changed and adapted and repealed, for the regulations themselves are the result of impersonal causes. No one is responsible for anything. The buck never stops anywhere.
There is no sin in a materialistic world. Adultery is not a sin, because human mating is the equivalent of the mating of any other animals, and is reduced to biology. Blasphemy is not sin, for who can define God in a material world? Murder and rape are not sins, but are simply the result of male aggression, and natural tendency that is seen in all the beasts. It is politic to try to restrain such things, but we understand and are sympathetic.
Sodomy is no sin, for the body rules all in a materialistic world. The morality of the apostle Paul, `I keep under my body, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be come a castaway,” has no meaning in materialism: the body is all, there is no soul to rule it and restrain it. Sodomy and other perversions are the natural result, for where there is no soul, there is no restraint of bodily sins.
Drunkenness, sexual perversions, drug abuse, murder, violence, hatred, are the end result of the soul being lost.
If man is defined as the product of chance materialistic processes, then the control of the processes becomes a matter of great concern to him. His mind becomes occupied with what he shall eat, what he shall drink, what he shall put on. He knows nothing of the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God, because these concepts have no value to him. This leads him to conflict after conflict.
The twentieth century has seen some of the most devastating wars in history--as materialist denominations (fascism, Naziism, communism, socialism) threatened the very fabric of the world's order.
It is a source of immense satisfaction to this writer to belong to a great nation that contended with these evil powers in terms of the values of the soul of man: liberty, freedom, and faith. God bless America! and may God preserve her from those very evils she so valiantly opposed in arms and wealth during the 20th century! By God's grace, America was the bulwark against the utter darkness of consistent materialism. All is not well in America, but her record in the 20th century has been glorious.
A well-known story is told about Chief Justice Earl Warren when the segregation of blacks in our school system was under debate in the Supreme Court. After hearing the legal arguments about precedent and custom, he is said to have asked, “But is it fair?”
It was on this basis that ultimately the degrading laws of school segregation were overturned. It was the most famous decision in equity in the history of the United States. It was decided on the basis of fairness--the sense of justice that every man feels in his soul. I do not know what other motives Justice Warren may have had, but I do know that a great deal of abuse was heaped upon him for his part in that famous decision.
Those who said the segregation battle was for the soul of America were right. Only by materialist presuppositions can a man be treated as chattel, bought and sold, and relegated to servitude because of the color of his skin. Where is the soul of a church or a nation that relegates human beings to second-class citizenship and holds them in perpetual servitude, without regard to their choices, but only on the basis of the flesh?
What Remains of Quality and Beauty?
Beauty, truth, love, justice, freedom, morality, worship, and kindness: such things are lost in the world fabricated by true evolutionists, based upon materialistic ideas. If any of these remain, it is because they have been “borrowed” from somewhere else, not from the ideas of materialism.
How profound are the words of Jesus, the Son of God! How very profound was His very presence in this world of ours! His very presence among us underscored what Moses told Israel in the wilderness, explaining why God had given them manna for all those years: “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Truth from the mouth of God has no meaning in a materialistic world. Words are just a vibration in the air and mean only what I think they mean. Gibberish and nonsense, or the beat of drums and the whine of the electric guitar, are as meaningful, and perhaps even more meaningful if they make me feel good.
So the church dies in irrationalism and lawlessness, for it has lost its soul also. “Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?” the Son of God asked (Matt. 6:25). Not in a materialistic world. If the life of man is only animal life, then all he needs is food. If the body is not the temple of the soul, then perhaps its most useful purpose is its adornment with gold, silver, and fine raiment.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” Jesus said (Matt. 6:35), a most non-materialistic statement. It is the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ through the righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel, which is the power of God unto the salvation of the soul (Romans 1:16,17). Wise men still seek Him.
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant Church RCUS
6050 Del Paz Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80918