“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast-off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
God is the Author of the mechanics of the universe (physical laws), and he is the Author of the morality of the universe (spiritual laws). The tendency to separate these two dimensions or to emphasize one at the expense of the other is a serious problem in the church and in the culture.
Church has a divided view of truth. Church separates spiritual laws from physical laws and spiritual laws. Christians tend to focus on morality and neglect mechanics.
The vast majority of preaching, teaching, and Christian literature emphasizes personal salvation and the application of Christian morality, but neglects to focus on the mechanics of the created world. While Christians will agree in principle that God is the creator of the natural world, the church does not place any significant importance on studying, understanding, and stewardship of God’s physical laws. When it comes to the mechanics of the physical world, the track record of the church is abysmal: no significant research, no books or resources, no discipline, no focus. The church has abdicated that role to secular thinkers.
Secular thinkers make the opposite mistake: They focus on mechanics at the expense of morality. They are more than happy to focus on the mechanics of the physical world. Secularists are quite pleased that the church defines its God and its faith as predominantly spiritual. Secularists are happy that Christians limit themselves to the moral realm. Look at what happens when Christians do something to move into the realm of the physical world with their faith: the secularists cry, “Stay out! You aren’t allowed to be here! Your faith is irrelevant at best, dangerous at worse. This is not your realm! Separation of church and state!”
Church has no credibility in the realm of the mechanics of the physical world. No research, no discipline, no hard work. The occasional assertions and initiatives by Christians to influence the realm of mechanics tend to be feeble and weak. And when the inevitable resistance appears from secularists, the protests from Christians is hollow and just as feeble.
Sadly, we are not in the game.
The assertions and the defenses that Christians use simply reinforce for secularists that Christians are not credible players in the realm of the mechanics of the physical world. Faith-based assertions and initiatives in the physical world tend to be weak and shallow precisely because the mechanics are weak and shallow.
But Christians feel justified nonetheless on moral grounds. But the reality is that no amount of spiritual sincerity will overcome a lack of mechanical discipline. To expect it to be otherwise is bad theology and decidedly unspiritual. It is a serious misunderstanding of God and His universe, and is an unfaithful response to His love and lordship. The integration of the physical and spiritual — the integration of mechanics and morality — is the way God has designed His universe.
The way forward for our nation requires that the Christian community fully embrace God’s physical laws as well as God’s spiritual laws. We must honor and respect both the mechanics and morality of God’s creation. To fail in this would be to fail our moment in history.