America’s ultimate problems are cultural, moral, and spiritual.
Culture shapes societies. Muslim societies are the way they are because they are driven by Muslim culture. Likewise with socialist societies. America displays the characteristics destroying it because we adopted the sixties culture that promotes those qualities.
The sixties culture possesses a singular moral value—the feelings of the individual. If he feels like a woman he has a moral right to access the women’s shower room. If she feels like having sex but not having children, she has a right to an abortion. If members of Congress don’t feel like adopting the same healthcare program they force on us, they have a right to adopt one that feels better to them. Considering that traditionally morality refers to obligations related to the treatment of others, this self-oriented morality not only fails to support traditional moral mandates but actively destroys them.
Our problem is ultimately spiritual since the solution to the cultural and moral problems described above consists of restoring Christian morality to our culture. Historically, though many Americans were not authentic believers, the cultural values instilled by those who were provided an environment in which government, business, law enforcement, education, and other aspects of our society could function effectively.
Our spiritual problem, however, includes an added dimension. It seems that the American evangelical church constitutes the only component of our society capable of restoring Christian culture. The evangelical church in America, however, having larger numbers and greater resources than the church in practically any other nation, should have possessed sufficient power to prevent the reshaping of American culture by secular forces. Its failure to do so reveals that it has spiritual problems of his own that are sapping its power and causing its defeat in the culture war.
An even more profound problem resides in the contemporary evangelical church’s failure to see that it has problems. This self-satisfaction undermines any genuine self-examination and correspondingly any genuine interest in change. This evangelical complacency engenders a sense of hopelessness. If the only component of our society capable of restoring Christian culture is too weak to do so and too complacent to change, the future looks dim indeed.
In searching for hope, I find the Lord taking me back to Genesis 1:2-3:
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Donald Gray Barnhouse, legendary pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, also author of a classic commentary on the book of Romans, wrote a book entitled The Invisible War, in which he postulated that the fall of Satan occurs between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Many other good Bible teachers have taken this position also.
What does this have to do with hope for America? We will see that as we further examine this passage.
If we place the fall of Satan after Genesis 1:1, then Genesis 1:2 seems to be describing the results of his fall. Ezekiel 28:13 seems to identify Earth as the residence of Satan prior to his fall. Genesis 1:2 could be translated, “And the earth became without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” This understanding of Genesis 1:2 indicates that the fall of Satan resulted in the earth becoming chaotic and dark.
The phrase “without form and void” is found one other place in Scripture, Jeremiah 4:23, where it describes the coming desolation of Jerusalem that would result from its total decimation by Nebuchadnezzar: the wall was broken down, the Temple and houses were burned, and the city was left in ruin. This use of this phrase suggests that it refers to chaos resulting from judgment. Apparently, just as God brought judgment resulting in chaos on the land of Judah, He likewise judged the Earth, the domain of Satan, after his fall. Darkness comprised another result of this judgment.
Genesis 1:2 describes the response of the Spirit of God to this scene of devastation. The translation above indicates that the Holy Spirit “hovered” over the face of the deep. This Hebrew word can also be translated “brooded.” One of the two other uses of the Hebrew word in Scripture is found in Jeremiah 23:9 where in response to the terrible depravity of the prophets in Judah and the approaching judgment Jeremiah laments, “Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and because of his holy words.” The word “broken” in this verse is the one translated “hovered” in Genesis 1:2.
Apparently the passage is saying that the Spirit of God witnessing the devastation and darkness of Earth resulting from the judgment of Satan was brokenhearted and brooded over its condition. God the Father, in response to the turmoil of His Spirit over the ruined condition of the earth, said, “Let there be light…,” thus initiating the entire creative process, shining His light into the darkness and bringing His order to the chaos.
The only but sufficient solution for America is to pray that the Spirit of God would look on the chaos and darkness that has come over our once great nation and that He would brood over it with a brokenness that would move God the Father to pronounce regarding America, “Let there be light,” thus piercing the darkness that has enveloped us and bring order to the chaos that surrounds us. That is the only hope for America.