Presuppositions for the End Times

I’ve spent a few months quietly examining my commitment to historic premillennialism.  And I want to ask the question:  is postmillennialism rationally viable?  That is a different question from whether it is true, but one, I suppose, that must be asked.  But before we get there we need to examine what a Reformed eschatology must contain.  The following should be a minimum sine qua non.

Summarized from Richard Muller’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.

I suppose as good a starting point as any would be the dius novissimus, the last day, theadventus Christi.  Here the Reformed Scholastics (excepting men like William Twisse) would also place the resurrection and Last Judgment.  As a historic premillennialist myself, I would have a few questions, but moving on…

While speculation of the last times is fruitless, the Bible does urge the wise steward to be ready, which implies some awareness of the times.  Thus, the Reformed Scholastics would speak of thesigna dei novissimi, signs of the last day.  These signs can be further delineated:

  • signa remota:  opening of the first six of the seven seals of Revelation 6:1-17: wars, famine, conflicts, pestilence, earthquakes.
  • signa propinqua:  signs nearer the end; the Great Apostasy; worldliness in the church.  Covenanted church members forsaking the church as the center of the kingdom.
  • signa propinquiora:  political unrest; regathering the nation of Israel; increased lawlessness.
  • signa proxima:  political disruption from the full manifestation of the Beast (Revelation 13-17); fulfillment of mission to the gentiles.
A note on Antichrist


Antichristus:  arises from within the church and is against the church.

  1.  he will sit in templo Dei
  2. he will rule as head of the church
  3. he will exalt himself above the True God
  4. He will cause many to fall away from the church.
  5. He will have “lying wonders.”
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When Matter Becomes Form

This is a review of Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation vol. 4.

And so ends the greatest theologian of all time. The following are highlights around the central theme of grace restoring nature. Indeed, with Bavinck we see the rejection of dualisms: “The dualisms between the internal and the external, the spiritual and the material, eternity and time, essence and form…are products of a false philosophy and contrary to Scripture” (458).

*The Church*

In his discussion of the church Bavinck always comes back to the truth that it is in the Reformed churches that preaching is exalted. Bavinck makes an important distinction that Lutherans see the Spirit working per verbum, while Reformed see him working cum verbum.

*Ethics*

Ethics

While Bavinck appreciated a Christianized society, he didn’t think all sins (e.g., fornication, drunkeness) should be punished by the State (437).

Bavinck’s discussions on the sacraments are par for the course with most Reformed dogmatics, so no need to explicate them here. He takes Calvin’s view as a middle path between Roman realism and Anabaptist gnosticism. He believes the Supper should be monthly.

*New Creation*

This is the most important section. When you want good eschatology, always go to the Neo-Calvinists, never American neo-Puritans. Recreation

“The resurrection is the principle of the renewal of all things” (428).

Judgment

Bavinck ably rebuts the hippy, humanitarian idea that hell is too mean for God, especially when evaluated on human sentiment. “For when the interest of society becomes the deciding factor, not only is every boundary between good and evil wiped out, but also justice runs the danger of being sacrificed to power…Human feeling is no foundation for anything important, therefore, and neither may nor can it be decisive in the determination of law and justice. All appearances notwithstanding, it is infinitely better to fall into the hands of the Lord than into human hands. The same applies with respect to eternal punishment in hell (708).

The New Earth

“The state of glory will be no mere restoration of the state of nature, but a re-formation that, thanks to the power of Christ, transforms all matter into form, all potency into actuality, and presents the entire creation before the face of God, brilliant in unfading splendor and blossoming into a springtime of eternal youth (720).

“The difference between day and night, between the Sabbath and the workdays, has been suspended. Time is charged with eternity of God. Space is full of his presence. Eternal becoming is wedded to immutable being. Even the contrast between heaven and earth is gone (730).

Conclusion:

Perhaps, as others have noted, this book isn’t as good as volumes 1-2. But it’s still the best thing on the market regarding this locus of systematic theology.

Dugin outline, chapter 1

I am doing an analytical outline of Dugin’s Fourth Political Theory.

Birth of a Concept

  1. Three Ideologies
    1. Liberalism: the individual is the normative subject (this includes both free market capitalism and the Democratic Party.  I am using “liberal” in a non-perjorative sense).
    2. Fascism: race or nation is normative subject
    3. Communism: Class
      The second and third options failed, leaving liberalism in charge.  Without any alternatives, liberalism is the norm.
    4. 4th political theory: Dasein is the acting subject.  We will explain more on this later.
  2. Postmodernism
    1. Global Market Society
      1. Globalism
      2. Technology
    2. Kingdom of Antichrist
  3. Heidegger and the Event
    1. The ancient greeks confused the nuances between pure being (Seyn) and a being (Seinende).
    2. Nihilism and the event
      1. The “Nothing” is the flip side of being and paradoxically reminds one of Being’s existence.
      2. Event: the sudden return of being.

 

War of the World Island (Dugin)

In this work A. Dugin advances and develops the typology of Eternal Rome vs. Eternal Carthage–land empires against sea, mercantile empires. So his thesis: Russia cannot be interpreted apart from the Russian land (Dugin loc. 128). From this he deduces a Geopolitical theorem: “the geopolitical system depends on the position of the observer and interpreter” (loc. 147). All observers are already embedded in a context.

Russian geopolitician: geopolitics of the heartland. Russia is going to be a “civilization of Land.” Of course, this is the typology of Eternal Rome vs. Eternal Carthage/Atlantis. This ties in with Dugin’s thesis: we are always already observers. Russia, therefore, will observe itself from a certain perspective, a land-based perspective.

Dugin extends the analysis a step further: Russia as Land-Civilization means its gradual becoming in history will ultimately be on a planetary scale (loc. 188). It is a “continental Rome.” Unfortunately, this means it will be drawn into conflict with “Carthage/Atlantis,” Britain and America. As Dugin notes, “The fact that Russia is the heartland makes its sovereignty a planetary problem” (loc. 259).

He gives the reader a brief treatment of Russian history from the October Revolution to the current day (though not including Putin’s presence in Syria). Readers may chafe at his neutral account of Soviet terror, but one supposes it fits his thesis: the Soviet Union strengthened Russia’s presence as a Land Civilization.

The Politics of Yeltsin:

Retells Chesterton’s narrative of Rome vs. Carthage. Rome’s defeat of Carthage was the defeat of Moloch. Dugin sees the contrary of this happening in 1991. I disagree. Rome’s sordid, almost dead state was parallel to Yeltsin’s Russia.

New Atlanticist Geo-Politics: The structure of the bi-polar world remained but with one of the poles withdrawn (loc. 1527ff). There was no longer a West-East Axis, but a “Center-Periphery” one. Nato was placed at the center of the world and everyone else on the periphery.
Dugin’s conclusions.

(1) There is a need for an energetic, post-Putin head of state (2741).
(2) Although working for a multipolar world, Russia must have global ambitions to thwart Atlantis.

Critical of Putin

Some say Dugin is the brainchild behind Putin. This is false. Dugin criticizes Putin on a number fronts.

*Dugin says Putin should not have allowed US support in Afghanistan, as this placed more NATO bases on Russia’s border (2144).

*Dugin notes no matter how important Putin’s gains are, they are not irreversible (and thus, they are open to a NATO/Atlanticist turn; loc. 2741).

Conclusion:

The book was surprisingly good. I had heard horror stories about Dugin (see the shrill hysteria at National Review), but most of his analysis is level-headed and familiar territory to Russia readers.

Other thoughts on Trump and globalism

Let’s leave personal failures aside and whether he is simply pimping the working class.  Trump’s rhetoric against globalism really stirs me.  And of course, his utter annihiliation of the GOP is something to consider.  But still.  One thing bothers me:  if there is a global cabal that controls politics, as I think there is, will Trump really change anything?

Maybe.  Critics of people who posit a New World Order say, “The govt is too incompetent to run something like this.”  Yes, the US govt is incompetent.  But this isn’t a US govt thing.  But let’s still go with the idea of an extra-territorial elite who has a sophisticated system of finance and technology.

(Here I am closely following the analysis of Joseph Farrell). We are seeing infighting in the New World Order.  How on earth can Donald Trump make “Truther” accusations against Jeb Bush and not be shut down immediately?  Rather, Bush’s campaign collapses.  Trump accuses Cruz’s father of complicity with Lee Harvey Oswald.  Cruz shuts his own campaign down.

Of course, Hillary is part of the NWO, too.  She represents the more Rockefeller branch while Trump is probably closer to the Mafia.

So what does this mean for us?

Notes on Liberal Democracy

While noting that Donald Trump is most likely a horrible person, one of the good things emerging from this political season (and to a much lesser degree from the Bernie Sanders campaign) is the fact that the “party system” in particular and “liberal democracy” in general is failing to make good on its post-Enlightenment promises.  Of course, I expect left-wing outlets to attack any criticism of liberal democracy, but I was surprised to see some anti-Trump conservatives defend liberal democracy. Moreover, they see, possibly accurately, that the attacks on liberal democracy come increasingly from the so-called “Alt Right” and from monarchists like myself.

I don’t want to identify with the Alt Right simply because too many of them are vile racists and post-Nietzscheans.  Nevertheless, in many of these conversations few have actually defined and identified liberal democracy.  Taking my cue from Matthew Raphael Johnson, I’ll give it a try.  You will note that both Establishment Republicans and Establishment Democrats agree with every one of these points.  This is why “voting” rarely changes anything.

most of these points are taken from Matthew Raphael Johnson)

(1) Commitment to a market ideology which sees the world in quantified terms (and by market I don’t necessarily mean “capitalism,” though that could be included)
(2) a web of relations that depends on social credit
(3) Commitment to representative institutions, albeit with a major caveat: liberal loyalty to representative institutions only makes sense if liberalism itself is served.
(4) commitment to some abstract idea of “universal human rights.” But of course, a universal right is often too vague to be useful.

In another essay, Johnson lists these tenets as defining liberal democracy (especially in foreign politics)

1. Liberalism alone grants legitimacy.
2. Liberal values are comprehensive and self-evidently true. They require no supporting argumentation.
3. The “global community,” is a real entity, but the “nation” is the product of “myth.” It has the right to intervene wherever “democracy” is threatened.
4. Implicitly, the American taxpayer should be coerced to pay for these actions.
5. Capitalism is the sole rational mode of production.
6. Liberal democratic capitalism should be (and is) the only ideology that has the right to be imposed and enforced with American arms.
7. The only objects that exist in the universe are individuals. Collectives are only conventions.
8. Nationalism (which is undefined here) is inherently monstrous and ruinous. This includes all forms of economic nationalism such as import substitution.
9. Only the leader of global liberalism has the right to intervene in the politics of other states. Anyone else, especially if they are against the liberal consensus, does not have this right and should be obstructed by force.
10. American influence and power, if it is controlled by liberal values, is inherently just

Summary of Reformed Eschatology

Summarized from Richard Muller’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms.

I suppose as good a starting point as any would be the dius novissimus, the last day, theadventus Christi.  Here the Reformed Scholastics (excepting men like William Twisse) would also place the resurrection and Last Judgment.  As a historic premillennialist myself, I would have a few questions, but moving on…

While speculation of the last times is fruitless, the Bible does urge the wise steward to be ready, which implies some awareness of the times.  Thus, the Reformed Scholastics would speak of thesigna dei novissimi, signs of the last day.  These signs can be further delineated:

  • signa remota:  opening of the first six of the seven seals of Revelation 6:1-17: wars, famine, conflicts, pestilence, earthquakes.
  • signa propinqua:  signs nearer the end; the Great Apostasy; worldliness in the church.  Covenanted church members forsaking the church as the center of the kingdom.
  • signa propinquiora:  political unrest; regathering the nation of Israel; increased lawlessness.
  • signa proxima:  political disruption from the full manifestation of the Beast (Revelation 13-17); fulfillment of mission to the gentiles.
A note on Antichrist


Antichristus:  arises from within the church and is against the church.

  1.  he will sit in templo Dei
  2. he will rule as head of the church
  3. he will exalt himself above the True God
  4. He will cause many to fall away from the church.
  5. He will have “lying wonders.”