Disobedience as Ritual Magic
The Christian God is a God of sovereignty and a God of order. He brings into existence all things that are, and brings purpose and direction to that which He has created. Within His creation God ordains causes and establishes means to bring about a natural end for this world; which is the establishment of His glory in all things.
Man, being now in a fallen state, is at enmity with this natural order of things and seeks to suppress the glory of God. In his rebellious state man seeks unnatural means to an unnatural end. But since this world belongs to God, He alone may determine the terms of its right and proper use.
And what is meant by magic? Simply that man seeks out unnatural means to an unnatural end.
Colossians chapter 1 says that all things were created by Christ and that it is in Him that all things hold together. In His wisdom, God has ordained that actions have reactions; and this principle applies to both the physical and the spiritual realms. Just as assuredly as a rock dropped from an elevated position will plummet under the constraint of gravity, so too will any area of this world, cut loose from its moorings in Christ, begin the downward trajectory toward death and hell.
The inescapability of this trajectory is terrifying to sinful man. The impress of God’s handiwork upon every single aspect of the created order means that man is everywhere reminded of God’s sovereignty and rulership. And what’s worse, man is reminded of God’s ends for those who rebel against Him: hell. There is nowhere to which man can turn without being confronted by God’s rule and the fate decreed for those that will not count Christ their Lord.
It is in the depths of this hopelessness on the part of fallen man that magic comes into play. And what is meant by magic? Simply that man seeks out unnatural means to an unnatural end. By denying God’s intended purpose for things man believes that he can subvert the natural order and decreed end of this universe. This places man in the position of engaging in rebellion for rebellion’s sake; of pushing his rebellion to the extant of extinguishing the constant testimony of God’s wrath upon sin and disobedience. Man is forced to become a magician.
This ritualistic and magical approach to rebellion explains the obviously intentional and ridiculously ostentatious nature of rebellion on display in our culture today. It is perversity for perversity’s sake, seeking out the limits of depravity.
The transvestite beauty pageants and the drag queen promotions are not things that people actually enjoy. Rather they are magical pageants designed to flaunt the unnatural, the perverse, the rebellious. The real intent of such goings-on is to declare that God is dead and man is free from the natural consequences of his actions. In this schematic, the cross-dresser and the transsexual have a much deeper significance than the extent of their physical actions would indicate. For in all reality they are magicians, sorcerers, high priests of an anti-Christian order. Their truest desire is to upset the rule of God and escape the testimony of His handiwork inherent in all things. If they engage in such willful and overt flaunting of God’s rule and live, then they have attested to their own usurpation of His coveted position.
That this perversity is systematic and constant should be no surprise for it is indeed a religious ritual, an intentional seeking out of further depravity. Moreover, as Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “Men do not become depraved through the exercise of power or the habit of obedience but rather by wielding a power they consider to be illegitimate or by obeying a power that they regard as usurped and oppressive.” Fallen man, in his magical quest to kill God, is intentionally obeying a power that they know in their heart is usurped and oppressive. To do otherwise, to admit the inherent goodness and wisdom in the biblically defined family, to acknowledge the God-ordained distinctions between men and women, the divine establishment of the nations, etc, would be to acknowledge the rule of God and His divinely imposed order over all things. And thus is the insane nature of rebellion. An insanity that is not trying to reach a destination but trying only to avoid one. Any end will do, as long as it is not the one God has predetermined for unrepentant sinners.
If there is one unifying factor to the chaos of fallen man’s broken schemes, it is that he consistently takes up those means and methods which he realizes are against the natural order of things, for it is only through these means that he hopes to ritually declare himself free from God.
That his efforts, if left unchecked, will run their course to the complete burning out of man should come as no surprise (Rom. 1:28-31). For indeed the wheat and the tares which grow in the same field shall only become more and more mature in their own respective natures until the day of threshing arrives. God has not prescribed that man should seek out magical means to attain the Divine end of all things. God has set forth His Word, given to man, that we might have our depraved hearts revived by Christ and be thus renewed unto good works. It is only by man’s obedience to God’s natural order for all things, and specifically the vicarious obedience of Christ in Adam’s stead, that man can truly find peace of heart.
Robert HoyleView More Essays
Robert Hoyle is a Southern Presbyterian who resides on the family farm in Dinwiddie Virginia. He and his wife Rachel currently have four sons and a daughter.