Sunday, February 5, 2017

Analogy Between "State of Nature" and "Evolution"

I mentioned in my last post a challenge to use the method of some Christian nationalists that puts documents they wish to authenticate as "Christian" by tying the words to those in the Bible and see if you can authenticate modern secular documents with it. I hypothesized that documents Christian nationalists would be quick to term "modern secular" could be authenticated as "Christian" under such.

On the other hand, there are plenty of modern figures, like President Obama who explicitly rely on the Bible in their public utterances and in their attempt to argue for modern left-liberal policies.

Is this secularism or is it religious leftism? One response is that they are misusing the Bible. Funny though, that is a charge often brought against John Locke.

In his time Locke was accused of smuggling not authentically Christian ideas into his writings. And today scholars like Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin and their students continue to press similar charges.

For instance, I noted some time ago Leo Strauss termed the notion of a "state of nature" "wholly alien to the Bible." "State of nature" was the common ground in discourse that Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau shared. Though they profoundly differed on how such played out.

Is this common ground of "state of nature" compatible with the Bible? The answer is it's debatable. The analogy I find useful is to Darwin's theory of evolution. Some argue this is inconsistent with "Christianity" or "biblical Christianity" or whatever you want to call it. Others have found ways to, as they understand, reconcile evolution with Christianity.

A similar point could be made about "state of nature" and Christianity.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

"it follows that the 'partial law of nature' does not belong at all to the law of nature." Strauss, 219. Indeed, since the "partial law of nature" does not require belief in God, it follows that there is no enforcer or judge of it, which means, naturally, that the "'partial law of nature' is, then, not a law in the proper sense of the term."

Not quite. The natural law is self-enforcing. If you don't live right, there will be consequences, in this life.

Well before Locke, Suarez and Grotius admitted that if there were no God there would still be the natural law.