Affirming Both Truths In & Out of Season
Christian teaching about the nature of reality is based upon belief in One God, the immanent relations of whose persons are expressed in terms of greater and lesser, that is, partake of hierarchy and equality. One need go no further in demonstration than noting what a father and son are recognized to be in all times and places: a greater and a lesser of the same essence. The Faith's view of creation by the mind and hand of this God is taxonomic—shot through with reflected equalities and hierarchies, pre-eminently those involving the two sexes of Man.
In any attempt to impose a way of thinking where it becomes natural for the mind to conceive the equality and order apart from each other, or where one is enlarged to the other's detriment or exclusion, the groundwork is being laid for the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of both God and creation.
In another age and place readers of a journal with Touchstone's mind would hear its editors emphasizing and opposing, on the basis of Scripture and Tradition, certain religious and social notions of hierarchy, for example, tyranny justified by the divine right of kings, or the Führerprinzip, or chattel slavery, or social Darwinism, or the denigration and mistreatment of women based on some ungodly concept of their inferiority or of obedience owed—all of which distinctively Christian intuition resists on the basis of an equality originating in and flowing from God. We would then be marked by the Spirit of the Age as egalitarians, democrats, and anarchists. The principle of Order would be invoked against us.
In this time and place, however, the same Christian mind finds itself most forcefully confronted by the annihilating dominance of an egalitarian impulse that reflexively and by character resents and rejects the very idea of order constituted from greater to lesser in both God and creation. It is this mind and its barbarian Zeitgeist that we as mere Christians now find it necessary to identify as ungodly and inhumane. We do not live in the age of Louis XIV, but of Robespierre and his kin. •
S. M. Hutchens is a senior editor and the book review editor of Touchstone.
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