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The Ruin of Oneness
Why abandoning God means abandoning reality
Those born within the last fifty years may lately find themselves gazing across the current cultural wasteland wondering who took a crowbar to the place. And where did all the nice neighbours go? And who set up the den of evil in the schoolyard? And why are we unironically asking questions like, “What is a woman?” Perhaps we can even recall the sunny days of cheap real estate, steady jobs, and bright future prospects; the days when we could expect to be carried to the skies on flowery beds of social conservatism.
On the one hand, nobody looks forward to the dusk of a prosperous age. On the other hand, one of the main reasons we’re here in the first place is because when everything was going well, everyone stopped wanting to fight for anything. Concessions were made that should not have been made. Lentil fields were surrendered that should have been watered with blood. John Quincy Adams may once have said, “I am a warrior, so that my son may be a merchant, so that his son may be a poet,” but the reality is that most merchant’s sons end up living in their parents’ basement into their 40s.
Also, warriors also make the best poets.
As a result of the previous generation’s shallow biblicism, many people today fail to understand the hellish undertow flowing underneath modern culture.
For some, the decline of religion in the West corresponded to the fire sale of traditional values: when prayer was banned from the public square, when evolution began to be taught in schools, when gay marriage became acceptable, when multiculturalism overwhelmed national identity, or when wokism rose from its grave to feast on the brains of the living.
While these moments weren’t insignificant — no one ignores the engine light when it's flashing in your face — if we think that all we need to get back to the garden is to recover a series of particular emblems, we’re not thinking deeply enough. Those moments were symptoms of a cancer whose infection continues into our own day. It is what Dr. Peter Jones (author of The God of Sex: How Spirituality Defines Your Sexuality and One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference ) describes as the merging of the material and transcendent. Jones argues that not only does religion NOT poison everything, it actually guards everything from the fatal poison of pantheism.
For Jones, and for Scripture, the first step towards heaven or hell begins with a “Oneist” (pagan) or “Twoist” (theistic) view of the world. Is God a part of everything around us? Or is He beyond us? Must He declare Himself? Or can He be realized through various forms of spiritual attunement?1
The reason Jones’ thesis is so compelling isn’t just because he’s unusually perceptive, but because his structure is based on the biblical reality of Romans 1:18–32. For those who haven’t read it, this passage of Scripture is the single most cohesive explanation as to how a perverted view of reality (with no distinction between creature and Creator) inevitably leads to perverted human relationships.
Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
The Horror of Abandonment
Romans 1 proves an existential bombshell on a number of levels.
First, we are presented with a true and compelling narrative by which to assess reality. There is one God who possesses both divine nature and eternal power. There is also the product of this one God — namely, His one creation, which bears witness to God’s divinity and power. So we have God and creation — related but distinct entities. God is no more essentially a part of His creation than a watchmaker is part of the second hand on his watch. He is intimately involved with it. His image is stamped all over it. But He is in no way dependent on it.
So far all of this might seem obvious. But remember, where we go from the intersection of “One” or “Two” is either a step towards the God who lifts shame (v. 16) or to the lesser gods that give it (vv. 24–25).
Second, notice that Romans 1 doesn’t present itself as simply one possible narrative among many, but as a definitive account of reality. Where is the root of all evil? It emerges in the moment we exchange the radiant glory of God with our own, lesser light (vv. 22–23). Again, the first of a long line of perversions begins when worship is directed horizontally, to creation (we are all God), rather than vertically, to the Creator (there is one God).
This exchange sets off a chain reaction of idolatry, which results in ever-thicker blindness. This blindness isn’t due to ignorance, but from sustained and intentional suppression of what creation is trying to tell us about God. Notice, their thinking “became futile,” their foolish hearts “were darkened,” and they also “became fools.” The path of idolatry and shame isn’t a straight cliff-dive into chaos but a gradual tumbling downhill as more and more truth fades from view.
People often think that worldview is an optional feature, like a fitbit or a beach umbrella; it don’t mean anything and it doesn’t lead anywhere. But that’s not how Romans 1 presents things. Rather, it conveys that we are created as inherently worshipping beings — the question is whether we will worship according to a “Oneist” or “Twoist” scheme.
Third, Paganism is an either-or package. If you want to get rid of transcendence, you must choose the degradation of imminence. Cliffs degrade under the long years of wind and wave. Metal degrades as rust eats away at it. And so our humanity — the dignity of a creature made to worship God — wears away as we suppress the knowledge of Him and turn our worship towards created things.
If etiquette prevents us from worshipping stones like the old pagans, then we will worship like new pagans. We will worship our passions. We will offer up pornography, homosexuality, pedophilia, beastiality, and whatever else our passions demand of us. We will offer our children, our education, our nation, our politics, and our religion.
Stop and consider the consequences of our fealty to passion.
When God gives someone over to lust, that means there is no longer any regulating body. Total autonomy may not sound like a bad thing, but it is. Consider the parents who, as a consequence of his rebellion, give their son over to junk food. He can eat as much as he wants — until he throws up or lapses into a coma. No one will stop him. It is the last weapon against persistent disobedience, and so also the most fearful.
If you’re wondering why all-age drag shows have become popular, this is why. Sex is no longer confined to a domain but is in the process of extending to everything and everyone, no matter their age. Recall in Genesis 19 that, “All the men from every part of the city of Sodom — both YOUNG and old — surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’” Sodom was identified as a city of degradation by the totalitarian rule of sex. There were no restraints. The tireless pursuit of their passions had become the expression of their worship.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that the forces of wickedness are now flooding towards the point they have always attacked — antithesis. Good and evil, black and white, male and female, poor and rich, fat and thin, foolish and wise — the strategy is to convince themselves that there is no difference.
There seems to be a general belief that even without God, and the light of his revelation, we are still in control of our moral sense. But what we aren’t counting on is that part of God giving us over to a debased mind means withdrawing any light that prevents our further decay. Apollo’s curse on Midas for shutting his ears to beauty was the permanent installation of donkey ears. In similar fashion, God’s judgement against persistent unbelief is to “give [us] over” to moral insanity.
If you don’t think we’re here, consider that Canadian doctors aborted over 87,000 children in 2021 and murdered over 10,000 disabled and depressed people. And we have the audacity to celebrate those things as steps of enlightenment and progress. That is blindness. And that is God’s judgement.
The biggest lie going these days is that there will be no reckoning for our rejection of God. But if we're supposed to take warning from Lot’s wife, we shouldn't forget about the fate of her hometown, either.
“Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah — from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities.” (Gen. 19:24)
There will someday be a reckoning. The water behind the dam will someday burst. Until then, however, God’s offer of mercy and grace still stands. And His gospel — His Christ — is a banner of freedom and hope to all who will trust in Him.
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Jones, Peter. One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference. Main Entry Editions, 2010.