Government With a God-Complex
There are really only two ways to see the world. Either the world and all that is in it has been created by God and therefore is under his sovereign power and authority, or there is no God and therefore all that is in the world is exists merely by cosmic chance and has no particular meaning or function at all. In the second scenario, a Godless world, the position of Ultimate Authority is up for grabs. If God does not already possess that role, then by necessity someone else will. In a world that rejects God, who calls the shots?
The answer to that question is not hypothetical. History has repeatedly shown us, including much of recent history—and by “recent history” I mean the last 22 months or so. When the authority of God is not acknowledged, the authority of man attempts to fill those shoes. A humanity apart from God is akin to a pack of dogs fighting over a piece of meat. The biggest dog gets the meat, and likewise the most powerful leaders get the throne. Put simply, a government that refuses to acknowledge the God above by necessity has a God-complex. Godless political theories have existed for thousands of years, and they exist to this very day.
The founders of both Canada and the United States understood this. They knew that a secular government inevitably drifts toward a God-complex. If there is no God, then the State itself becomes the functioning god.
Consider an illustration. The opening preamble to the Canadian Bill of Rights states:
“The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions;
Affirming also that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law;
And being desirous of enshrining these principles and the human rights and fundamental freedoms derived from them, in a Bill of Rights which shall reflect the respect of Parliament for its constitutional authority and which shall ensure the protection of these rights and freedoms in Canada:“
In other words, the founding of Canadian rights were based on the “spiritual values” of the “supremacy of God”, and such rights are “derived” from these realities. Therefore, these rights and freedoms require “protection” by Parliament. Notice that our rights are protected by the government, not created by it. Our rights, so says our own Constitution, come from God and according spiritual truths. This is precisely correct. If the supremacy and authority of God is not acknowledged, human rights have no transcendent grounding. They are simply made-up by governing authorities and, therefore, can be un-made-up just as readily. After all, who is to stop them?
The American Declaration of Independence is even more clear and explicit in this regard:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Again, notice that rights come from God and are to be protected by the government. They have their origin in the Creator, not in the opinion of any governing body.
What then would happen, say, if a country were to largely reject the notion of a Creator? Since these documents correctly ground the existence of human rights in God, a rejection of God would result in human rights without grounding. At best, a government could attempt to keep those rights alive without acknowledging where they come from. But that is pretty shaky ground, no?
If God is not the Ultimate Authority, then the State will be. In fact, many political philosophies not only recognize this but actively desire it. A few hundred years ago, G.H.F. Hegel famously wrote “The state is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth.” Authoritarians who reject the authority of God by default make a god of the State. The State becomes the highest authority in the land, taking over the responsibilities that belong to God alone.
In his collection of writings The Prison Notebooks, Marxist Antonio Gramsci says, “Socialism is precisely the religion that must kill Christianity. [It is a] religion in the sense that it too is a faith … [and] because it has substituted for the consciousness of the transcendental God of the Catholics, trust in man and his best strengths as the sole spiritual reality.” Put differently, Gramsci and others like him are intentionally trying to replace faith in God with faith in the power of man, which results in a God-like political State. They see faith in God and an authoritarian State as competing opposites.
So what we have at work here are two forces colliding together. On the one hand, you have power-hungry leaders and politicians who have a God-complex and believe they are the chosen ones to dictate social life that will lead to utopia. If only their policies are in place, everything would be great. On the other end, you have a population that no longer trusts in God to take care of their needs, and therefore believe it is up to man to solve all of our own problems. These two desires—the State’s desire to be a god, and the people’s desire to be saved by a god—collide to create a government with a God-complex. The people are seeking a powerful force to help them, and the leaders are more than pleased to take on that role.
This is why many people seem not only to lack fear for an authoritarian State, but actively cheer it on. They are cheering for their god. The State, in their minds, is a Saviour. The all-powerful State will enact justice, right all wrongdoing, teach, correct, discipline, and generally solve all of the problems that plague mankind, ultimately ushering in some sort of a utopia where we all run through the hills singing the Sound of Music. And Godless, power-hungry leaders are more than happy to take those reigns from the public and run with them.
Canadians, behold your country. Canada is not a God-fearing country, and hasn’t been for a long time. Not only has our Godlessness given birth to secular humanism, that baby is all grown up now and strong enough to wreak some real havoc. A government with a God-complex is a dangerous thing. When leaders feel like they are at the top of the power rung, and not under the authority of a God to whom they must give an account, massive amounts of power combine with an ego-driven sinful nature to make one potent cocktail.
None of this should be surprising, of course. The Bible does say, after all, that “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). God never promised that governments would humbly submit to him, or that politicians would flee from idolatry. No, I’m not wringing my hands in angst over these things, and neither should you. Not ultimately, anyways.
Our ultimate hope is in the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Our hope is in the King of kings and Lord of lords, even if our earthly kings and lords don’t realize they have an authority over them. We place our truth in the sovereign God of the universe who is in control of all things, and works them out according to his good pleasure.
But we can do two things simultaneously, can we not? We can put our ultimate hope in God and we can seek revival in the here and now. We can pray for our leaders. We can vote for those who will uphold righteousness. We can aim to sway public policy, educate our children in the way of the Lord, build strong Bible-teaching churches, and share the gospel of Christ with anyone who will hear it. Yes, we can and should do these things as well.
The moment we are living in is significant. Canada needs God, and the more we reject him, the more we will empower the State who refuses to acknowledge him. A State that rejects God as the highest source of truth and righteousness is ripe for human misery. Let our prayers echo what Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come”.