There is reason to think that God’s intention is for humans to pursue life as humans which entails, not being separate from God but perhaps not only attending worship services. When He put man in the garden He told them to be fruitful and multiply, to take dominion.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground (Genesis 1: 27-28, NIV).” 1
In the midst of that existence there were walks and times of fellowship with God:
There was purpose in the garden: ruling “over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground Genesis 1:26),” working the ground (Genesis 2:6), naming the animals (Genesis 1:19-20).
Had there been no fall, there would have been procreation and a burgeoning population and culture would have arisen. But these are hypothetical exercises. The fact remains, God of course foreknew all that would happen and therefore the rise of cultures as we know them were anticipated from the beginning. In fact, we could suggest that the family is the first culture and God’s expectations of right behavior and purpose within the family is extended and expanded as families emerge and interact. All of humankind extends from Adam and Eve and is therefore one large, infinitely diverse family.
So, envisioning culture as an outflow, a natural result of the fulfillment of our obedience to those original commands is appropriate so long as such efforts are viewed as flowing from God and done for His glory rather than for the good of man or the accomplishments of his goals. The Tower of Babel represents a pursuit of the glory of man rather than the glory of God.
I think it is difficult to grasp this idea of a Christian culture because we can’t imagine the entire world being saved. But when we imagine a community being saved, we catch a glimpse of what the purpose of such a community might be and how that community might function. Or, we can imagine the model we understand best: a Christendom model that sees the culture as not hostile (Christ above culture).
1 All Scriptures NIV.
2 Although our only example of this in the garden comes after the fall, there is no reason to think that God’s venture into the garden to find Adam and Eve was a new development in their routine or in God’s behavior.
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Have you ever asked yourself what is behind all of this that we are seeing in our culture today, namely the push for homosexuality, abortion, evolution, and atheism? Genuine Bible-believing Christians understand that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the big picture of existence in the universe. We understand that there are influential forces of evil, not seen with the naked eye, that bring their influences to bear upon society. Paul wrote:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12, NIV).
We also know that there are particular evil forces who reside over certain geographical areas, wrecking havoc where allowed to:
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. 2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. 7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. 10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come (Daniel 10:1-14, NIV).”
We are not ignorant of the devil’s tactics which are from of old:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3: 1-5, NIV).”
I also believe that we have an accounting of Satan’s fall from heaven:
12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit (Isaiah 14).
12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “ ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more (Ezekiel 28).’ ”
13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10).”1
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down (Revelation 12).
6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day (Jude).
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment (2 Peter 4);
From these passages, we can get an idea of Satan and how he works. So, back to the original question: What is behind all of this that we are seeing in our culture today, namely the push for homosexuality, abortion, evolution, and atheism? Satan has foisted onto man the most heinous and debauched behaviors and concepts and convinced him that such things a re a celebration of life!
Satan hates God’s finest creation, mankind. He has therefore devised diabolical ways in which he can destroy it, using man as his helper as he does it.
Satan perverts God’s creation and leads them into deviancy through homosexuality, sullying the sanctity of marriage and convinces man that it is normal and healthy, gets society to celebrate it as the triumph of a free society, even finds a way to sanctify it through Scripture.
Satan finds a way to get women and men to kill their children while still in the womb, even after they emerge from the womb, while only thinking of themselves and their hardships and their own freedom to choose. He turns the deaths of untold billions of babies into a celebration of choice. (1.3 billion worldwide since 1980; almost 57 million in the United States since 1970.)
Satan convinces man that he has no more significance than an animal; that he is a random accident. In the mouth of Richard Dawkins evolution is celebrated as the greatest show on earth and in Carl Sagan a celebration of the cosmos. In River out of Eden, Dawkins writes: “
In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows or cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
Satan tells man that he is alone. There is no creator. There is no God. Man is god! Satan turns man into the fool who says in his heart, “There is no God.” Satan convinces man that life is nothing more than a hedonistic celebration of himself.
1 This passage is for me a “lynchpin” of sorts, whether seen from a redaction critical perspective or a strict literal perspective. It seems beyond coincidental that within the pericope not only do we hear Jesus say, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (echoed throughout the various passages listed in this article), but we also hear references to both the Ezekiel and the Isaiah passages. The Ezekiel passage is sandwiched between a lament against Tyre and a prophecy against Sidon, both mentioned in the Luke passage, and the reference to Capernaum “going down to Hades” rather than being “lifted up to the heavens” is a strong echo of Isaiah 14 passage. To say that either Luke or Jesus were unaware of the implications or connections of their words to the respective Old Testament passages, therefore suggesting that the references were unintentional or worse coincidental, would be a decision not to allow either of them the full communication of their words. For the redaction critic particularly it is unreasonable to view Luke as an intentional, creative author and yet not give him credit for such a connection.