Yesterday I was privileged to attend a summit of the Watchmen, a national group of civic-minded pastors organized by that warrior for truth Tony Perkins. Then this morning I turned on my computer to find a fresh glimpse into hell — in the form of a new video exposing the sale of baby human organs for profit in America. So I faced both options from Moses’ offer to the Hebrews: “I set before you this day a blessing and a curse.” (Deut. 11:26)
As Al Perrotta laid out in his news report on the Watchmen meeting, there were many powerful voices proclaiming the urgency of the hour. One speaker after another rose to warn the assembled church leaders of just how thin the margin now is for religious freedom in America, to point out how cruel our nation is becoming, with the crass trade in human organs from aborted children now common knowlege — and shrugged off by our president and the whole Democratic party. The Watchmen spoke of faith grown lukewarm, of pastors now weary of swimming against the culture, who shrug and fall silent as their flocks wander off to the slaughter. Others spoke of the hope for revival, of the power of God to answer our prayers with a Great Awakening that could wash over America, smashing its structures of sin into damp piles of splinters.
But for some reason one speaker touched me more than the others, a messenger from the distant Christian past — indeed from our pre-history, from the covenant with Israel. Rabbi Jonathan Cahn addressed the Watchmen via recorded video message. Perhaps his speech had extra force because of his own people’s history, which was so intertwined with promises from God that were conditioned on its faithfulness — promises which, when flouted, transformed themselves into ferocious temporal punishments. Just as America has seemed in so many ways, for two long centuries, uniquely blessed, it’s impossible not to wonder what will become of us should those blessings be withdrawn. We have seen some ominous hints.
As Rabbi Cahn explained, we have allowed ourselves to drift far from the truths that the West once knew about human nature, truths that we learned from the Jews. Indeed, we have embarked on a strange and perilous project: to transform ourselves into entirely new creatures, not bound by the rules of mortal, biological life or by the God who created us. We have no gender but what we choose, no morals but those we embrace, no debt that we owe to the future in repayment for all the gifts we got from the past. Our “choices” are sacrosanct and beyond any criticism. But life is cheap. It can be measured out in tiny livers and severed limbs, and sold piecemeal by Planned Parenthood to labs such as StemExpress.
The Sin of Adam
We have in our own way re-enacted the sin of Adam, whose desire to “be like God” cast away the blessings that came with creation. We often forget the second part of that story, a section which always puzzled me until I read the way C.S. Lewis explained it. Remember that there were two trees in Eden: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and beside it the Tree of Life. Once Adam and Eve had sinned, they were expelled from the Garden immediately, lest they eat of the Tree of Life.
What would have happened if they had managed to munch on those golden apples? As Lewis writes, when God prevented that, He was protecting us from ourselves. Unlike the demons, we die. We have what Tolkien called in The Lord of the Rings the “gift” of death. We have at least that limit to the evil that we can do, and a merciful, ugly reminder of our limitations and neediness. A race of fallen men become immortal would be a generation of monsters, growing not older or wiser, but simply more sophisticated and wicked. And that seems to be our goal now, as one nation after another gives up on having children, while scientists work furiously in search of immortality formulas. Our collective goal seems to be clear: A world full of ageless, sterile consumers who only mix their chromosomes when they need a fresh batch of baby organs for transplant.
It is natural for us to try to mitigate the sufferings in this life, and to fight off disease and death. Unlike the animals, we feel somewhere deep within that we were not made for the grave. We are not like salmon who spawn, then instantly lie down and die. Instead, we cling to life, and to hope for eternal life — and see in our children not copies of ourselves, or extensions of our egos, but fresh new creations, each of them just like us in one essential way: They too are made for eternity. We are sad that we cannot remain in this place, so we mourn for ourselves, even as we celebrate the growth and life of those whom we have brought up to replace us. That is why we cry at weddings.
This truth came home forcefully on the day that I sat, in the hospital where I was born, to watch my father die. He looked at me, then looked up, then looked no more. As I worked through my grief, and wandered my neighborhood bleary-eyed, I saw a young mother pushing a carriage that held a squirming, giggling infant. And the thought was given to me: No death, no babies. Men like my father (and someday, like me) must step aside to make room for the new folks, as others had made room for us. And God seeks to gather us all to Himself, each at our own proper moment.
At least, this is how things are meant to work, when we are humble enough to accept our place in creation, and treasure some hope for redemption.
What happens when we push ourselves out of place, when we throw back in our ancestors’ teeth all the lessons they passed on to us, including the truths of natural reason, and the flashes of divine insight that we used to call Revelation?
We become unhinged. Our halves cease to function in harmony. We cannot make sense of our compound nature as amalgams of body and spirit. Our desires grow ever more limitless and disconnected from our needs, while the bodies that contain us begin to feel like prisons, battered dinghies that gradually take on water, which someday will sink us to drown in bottomless darkness. We feel more than ever the urge to be as gods, but reject the knowledge that tells us we are anything more than animals — brainy beasts made to breed, then die, with no hope of eternity. That enrages us. It mocks us. It’s the skull poking out through the skin. So we look for scapegoats, for victims.
Who better than the little ones who are shoving forth to replace us? Sure, we might accept one or two, if they happen to come exactly when we want them, and match our specifications. But those who arrive unexpectedly, or whose genes prove them “inferior,” will find no welcome here. Some 54 million so far have we mowed down. We have forgotten that we are guests on this earth, whom others have suffered to raise from birth, sojourners en route to someplace utterly different. Instead we act like squatters, who have seized a home from its owner and claimed it as our own.
The rage of the pro-choice protester is nothing more than this: the ferocity of a thief defending his pile of stolen goods. It’s the terrified fury that Macbeth felt as he guarded his stolen crown.
And our Lady Macbeth, Planned Parenthood, counts her jewels with bloody hands.
Appeared in The Stream