What is it with these dictators? They seem to think that the universe has conferred upon them alone, the authority to tyrannise, oops I meant rule over us, in order to keep us safe.
Last time I looked, Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence says something about ‘we the people ……’ assign to the ruling class the privilege of serving us to ensure that our ‘inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is defended.
Which is an eloquent way of telling the Government ‘Get of my face and protect my freedom’.
Socialism and tyranny
It seems that we in the West (by inviting more government and less freedom into our daily lives) are drifting slowly, but ineluctably into a socialist dystopia, which the testimony of history irrefutably shows is run by some type of despot. For instance, we only need to look at the suffering visited upon our comrades in Victoria, by the would-be dictator Daniel Andrews.
Who like all dictators before him - Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot - believe that they have been foreordained to save us from whatever the current crisis may be?
The notion that ‘we the people ….’ don’t want his dictatorship and prefer our freedom to his bondage is so utterly foreign to him, that he begins to sulk over the strident rejection of his Supreme Leader Bill, during the recent street protests in Melbourne.
What’s behind dictatorships (evil)
As we travelled back in time to consider the countless dictators that have stained the pages of history with the blood of the innocent, we’re constrained by the sheer enormity of the atrocities committed upon the human race by them to ask the question ‘Why is this so?’
At simply a banal level we could quote Suetonius who avers that dictators are
‘Ready to sacrifice every principle of virtue, in the pursuit of supreme power or sensual gratification’ 12 Caesars, Nero.
Yet the scale and barbarity of these horrors inflicted upon us (over 40 million Russians under Stalin, the same death count under Mao, and 2 million Cambodians under Pol Pot, to name just a few in the last century alone) by these maniacs demands better answer than just ‘ego’.
How about the existence of evil?
We turn to the possibility of Evil having an independent ontological existence, as an explanation for the murderous cruelty perpetrated by our world’s infamous dictators.
The problem of evil isn’t confined only to the modern world. The great minds of Augustine, Aquinas and others grappled with this profound issue also. Their insights hold out a lifeline of hope, to our fallen world.
Firstly, let’s define Evil. According to Augustine and others that followed, in order for Evil to exist we need Good. And ultimate Good is God alone.
Therefore, we say something is unjust, because one aspect of God’s character is justice. It follows then that someone is immoral or unholy because God is moral and holy. I think you get it.
Here’s the thing, Evil is no longer wrong if there’s no benchmark by which we can judge human behaviour apart from God.
Secondly, how do we account for a quintessentially Good God, and the presence of Evil in His Good world?
Hold onto your head because what’s coming could blow a fuse. Here we go,
A created being can be said to be evil if … it falls short of its natural goodness by being corrupted or vitiated; strictly speaking, only corruption itself is evil, whereas the nature or substance or essence ……. of the thing itself remains good (Confessiones 7.18; Contra epistulam fundamenti 35.39 etc.)
So, Evil is an immaterial corruption of Goodness. Which means that God created us really Good, but sin has corrupted our natural Goodness. We remain Good, but when we fall short of what He requires, then we’ve done Evil.
Here’s the kicker at any given moment in time, when confronted with choices, we can choose to act in concord with our God given good nature or our fallen nature, ie: we can exercise ‘free will’.
However, given our proclivity and that of all dictators to do Evil, rather than Good, is there any hope for us?
God is sovereign even over evil
Hope abounds and here’s why. While God is not the author of Evil, nonetheless in some sense and for some reason known only to his divine counsel he has allowed Evil, into his Good world.
Listen to Joseph’s admonition of his brothers, who with Evil intent sold him into slavery. ‘You meant this for Evil, but God has used your Evil intent for Good’
This principle is seen supremely in the events surrounding the death of God’s Son. Satan used every means available to have Jesus murdered: the jealousy of the Jewish leaders, the fury of the Romans, the treachery of Judas and the cowardice of his disciples, to ruin God’s purpose. They meant it for Evil, but God used their Evil intent for the ultimate Good of all mankind.
23 Jesus was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him (Acts chapter 2: verses 23-24)
This shows to us that God can disable the nefarious designs of any dictator, despot or tyrant, by turning even their Evil intent into an instrument that serves his Good plan and purpose for humanity. We can pray to Him in hope, and wait in expectation for Him to act.
Yahweh reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. (Psalm chapter 99, verse 1)
Vic Matthews, has three degrees B.Optom, B.Arts & B. Christian Studies. Is available as a Guest Speaker for your next Church conference or camp. He is a fledgling author, and copywriter.
For more information visit http://www.graphw.co/
Vic Matthews' previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/vic-matthews.html