Over the last fifty years of a growing moral cultural darkness, a massive sense of uncertainty, has slowly and inescapably, fallen upon our culture. As the implications of the worldview of irrationality, secularism, relativism, and materialism have taken firm hold, the inescapable consequences of embracing these ideas, and its worldview implications, have taken root and begun to bear its inescapable fruit: the darkness of moral and epistemological uncertainty.
When the ultimate ground of life is chance, an impersonal and unknowable universe, and irrationality, the inescapable effect is uncertainty. It is an uncertainty that effects everything. It is like a mildew that is left untreated. It inescapably grows into a mold that will have immense effects upon the structure it afflicts. Left untreated it will necessitate the destruction of the structure, because the mold will reach a point of becoming overwhelming and untreatable, making the structure uninhabitable.
We personally experienced this circumstance, with mildew and mold, last year when we discovered we had a termite problem at our home in the crawl space below the house. We also learned that the contributing factor, to the presence of the termites, was a moisture problem that had been present for some years, unbeknown to us. Poor drainage had led to an exceedingly damp, never drying, crawl space that slowly, over many years, had become an attraction to the termites because of the extreme, and ever present, moisture in the wood. Thankfully, the termite problem was caught early enough to prevent any serious damage, but to treat the problem permanently we were going to have to treat the fundamental, and ongoing, problem of the moisture and poor drainage that created the moisture problem. Well, thankfully, after several thousand dollars of expense all of those problems have been dealt with and the moisture and termites are no longer a problem or threat to the very foundation and structure of our home.
Such is the nature of a culture, and of a life. Often evidence of a problem or problems, are but symptoms of a more serious matter and problem. Francis Schaeffer drives this point home in his book The Christian Manifesto when he wrote:
The basic problem of the Christians in this country in the last eighty years or so, in regard to society and in regard to government, is that they have seen things in bits and pieces instead of totals.
They have very gradually become disturbed over permissiveness, pornography, the public schools, the breakdown of the family, and finally abortion. But they have not seen this as a totality — each thing being a part, a symptom, of a much larger problem. They have failed to see that all of this has come about due to a shift in world view — that is, through a fundamental change in the overall way people think and view the world and life as a whole. This shift has been away from a world view that was at least vaguely Christian in people’s memory (even if they were not individually Christian) toward something completely different — toward a world view based upon the idea that the final reality is impersonal matter or energy shaped into its present form by impersonal chance. They have not seen that this world view has taken the place of the one that had previously dominated Northern European culture, including the United States, which was at least Christian in memory, even if the individuals were not individually Christian.
These two world views stand as totals in complete antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural results —including sociological and governmental results, and specifically including law.
It is not that these two world views are different only in how they understand the nature of reality and existence. They also inevitably produce totally different results. The operative word here is inevitably. It is not just that they happen to bring forth different results, but it is absolutely inevitable that they will bring forth different results.
Rather than recognizing the fundamental (root) cause of our cultural uncertainty and declension, we have focused upon the “termites,” the symptoms of a much larger and significant problem. Focusing upon the fruits, rather than the root of the problems can only deal with the symptoms, not the fundamental and treatable cause.
We must recognize that the uncertainty that fills the culture, whether it’s moral uncertainty, historical uncertainty, academic uncertainty, or uncertainty in any other area, personal or cultural, is due to a fundamental problem. The “termites” are the symptoms. The rot of uncertainty has to be dealt with at its root. To shift analogies, the darkness can only be driven away by the light.
Admittedly to speak with moral and epistemological confidence and certainty, in an age of the growing secular darkness and relativistic uncertainty, is to be accused of arrogance. Of course the real arrogance is to speak with certainty about how uncertain everything is when one lacks omniscience. To speak with certainty, when one has a sound, logical, rational, and revealed foundation for it, is to speak with humility about one’s own limitations because of Another’s “un-limitations.”
Hence the necessity of the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The celebration of His resurrection is, among many other things, a celebration of certainty, confidence, and cultural restoration in time and history. A celebration of “the God who is there and is not silent.”
The challenge of uncertainty goes back to the fundamental question asked in the beginning: “has God said?” The answer to this question affects everything. In fact, the manner in which a person or society answers the question has affected everything, since the beginning.
The celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the celebration to the correct answer to that question. It answers with a resounding YES! God has spoken, plainly, clearly, to every generation of men, in words that can be comprehended, applied, and obeyed. Not only that “…He has spoken, in these last days, to us, by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things….” (Hebrew 1:1-2). It is, as the apostle Peter put it, “a sure word.”
I belong to a Protestant tradition that practices observing the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day, as a part of our corporate worship. In reality we celebrate that “sure word,” that certainty every time we take the Lord’s Supper. It is not only a celebration of the death of Christ but of God’s integrity in the promise made “…before the foundation of the world.” It is a celebration of God’s Sovereignty over history acknowledging that “…in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son….” It is an ongoing celebration that the Father said to the Son, “…sit at My right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” It is a celebration that God’s promise to Abraham, that God will fill the earth with the descendants of Abraham, like the heavens are filled with stars and the desert is filled with sand.
All this is to say, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is a celebration of God’s veracity and faithfulness throughout all the generation, a celebration of our confidence in God’s Word, and a celebration that the Gospel is a message of certainty, a certainty that ALL things will be made new, that the resurrection and ascension of Christ changes everything!
The resurrection of Christ is a celebration of the antithesis that God imposed upon creation in Genesis 3:15 and an acknowledgement that only by the grace of the Gospel and His Son will the serpent be crushed.
The resurrection of Christ is a celebration of not only the beginning of all things but a celebration of the eschaton, the end of all things. A celebration that God declares the end and the beginning of all things (Isaiah 46:10).
The resurrection of Christ celebrates the personal and cultural healing that grace brings and the Gospel promise. That the terrible effects of the fall in the Garden, are being overcome and will be finally overcome and celebrated at a party, in the end!
The resurrection of Christ is a celebration that God works in history. He is no “watchmaker god” who has walked away. It is a celebration about life (yours and mine) and history, all of HIS-story. A celebration about grace overcoming the effects of the fall in real time and real life. A celebration of the reality of overcoming death, hell, the grave, and all the lesser problems (real problems) we face in life. It is about facing all these with certainty.
The resurrection Christ is a repudiation of all that the controlling secular and relativistic worldview has brought upon us culturally. It repudiates the “no” in favor of the “yes” to that question asked in the Garden. It repudiates uncertainty for the certainty of God’s Word, His character, promise, providence, and power.
I was glad to have discovered the termite problem we had, eating away at the very foundation and structure of our home, early on. I was even happier to have discovered the root cause of the termite problem which was beginning to create larger and much more significant problem that could have destroyed our home. We now live in that home with certainty and confidence, knowing full well that other of life’s problems may (and will) crop up as the days go on, but we can deal with them with the certainty that the foundation is no longer threatened and the house is secure.
The resurrection of Christ, the celebration of Easter, is a celebration of certainty pregnant with implications for us all, personally and culturally. It is a celebration of “the God who is there and is not silent.”
Psalm 11: 4-7 concludes this very thing: “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
Such is the certainty that understanding the implication of the resurrection of Christ brings.