“What the philosophers say about reality is often as deceptive as when you see a sign in a second-hand store that reads: Pressing Done Here. If you went in with your clothes to have them pressed you would be fooled; the sign is for sale.” Søren Kierkegaard in “Either/Or”
The world is divided into three groups of people. Those who think in terms of Myth, those who think in terms of Science, and those who think in terms of Relationship.
We could also call them Animists, Secularists and Theists; or Cyclical, Linear and Providential; or Spiritual, Rational and Predestinational; or Magical, Intellectual and Miracle; or Tribe, Society and Church.
Until Nebuchadnezzar there were only Myth and Miracle Thinkers; and Magic ruled the world. Daniel predicted not only the coming age of reason with its politics, but also its reach and its driving forces.
Daniel’s work is a phenomenon, I find myself having to accept Daniel’s prophetic insight as divinely inspired, what reason is then left me to deny his philosophy, his theology and his predictions yet to be realized?
|The Magic Mind.
||The Miracle Mind.
||The Intellectual Mind.
The miracle minded are not opposed to the intellect, although admittedly many of them are not very intellectual. Nor are they opposed to magic, although most of them are also not very magical; Daniel himself was an intellectual magician.
The greatest accusation against the miracle minded is that he is too magic minded for the intellectual, and too intellectual for the magician.
To understand the mind of the Miraculous Man, the Believer, The Relational Intellectual, the Rational Wizard, it is useful to enlist the help of Søren Kierkegaard in “The Sickness Unto Death” as he describes the intellectual ascent: “Whether a person has been miraculously helped essentially depends on with what passion of mind he has grasped that help which was impossible, and in the next instance on how honest he is toward the power which nevertheless helped him.
But people as a rule do neither the one nor the other; they shriek that help is impossible without ever taxing their minds on how to find help, and afterward they ungratefully lie.”
The first stroke of Daniel’s brilliance (although it is not his brilliance at all – a fact which he goes to great pains to explain) is his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream. And it is an enigma for the historian, because what Daniel predicted by this dream is exactly what has happened over the last 4000 years.
I am not going to recite scripture, I take it you have a bible. If you don’t, let me know and I will send you one if I can. You will need to read Daniel chapter 2. And, as I have already said, when you read it you ought to say, “wait a minute… how, on earth would he have know?”
Daniel starts by predicting the Age of Intellect, those who analyze and build civilizations upon each other, and so create empires that last longer than themselves.
This prediction sets these Intellectuals apart from the Magicians, and forges their civilizations into a man-made whole.
Later on Daniel will dissect the origin and extent of this new breed of thinkers, and the intellectual worldview, from here on in, dominates Daniel’s prophecy. But it’s important to realize that this was the moment of the birth of Science, and Democracy.
But there are a few important points to make:
• Even so, it was not until Jesus that mankind conceived of a separation between church and state, and even then it was another inspired idea, “
Give God what is Gods and Caesar what is Caesar’s
• Though this is the birth of Science and Democracy, the conception of Science, Democracy, Individualism and Linear Thought happened with Abraham and Moses. As Thomas Cahillsaid in “The Gifts of the Jews”: “If you are looking for an origin of Western civilization you had better start with the Hebrews.”
• Science is no longer devoted to the pursuit of truth. Corey S Powell says in “God in the Equation” “In this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.”
Prof. Marvin Chester: “The faith on which science is built is that a divine intervention does not exist.”
Darrow Millar in “Discipling Nations”: “The problem with science today is that it has been divorced from the pursuit of truth.”
This does not make science illegitimate, far from it, it just means that it has failed to be an all embracing worldview, and if you try and make it one, it will fail you.
CS Lewis in “The Abolition of Man”:
“Those who really founded modern science where usually those whose love for truth exceeded their love for power.”
And, “To value knowledge as an end in itself is to use as a mistress for pleasure what ought to be a spouse for fruit.”
Now as Daniel predicted, the Medo-Persian empire followedBabylon, with more bureaucracy but less splendor (as is always the case with more bureaucracy).
The Greeks rose up against the Persians and ruled the bronze age. The Greeks were pivotal and reproductive in their ethos, Hellenising the world (hence them represented by the waist hips, and thighs). Their philosophy was sown, conquest after conquest, like the seed of Don Juan.
The Romans assimilated the Greeks with sharper swords and smoother Stoicism. They were a more brutal Empire with a more compromised ethos.
And that is precisely were we are today, modern Romans, intellectuals. Refining our democracy, our Latin and our philosophy; compromising and re-compromising our ethic. Making a more subtle secularism. Being very democratic and republic, scientific and rational, worshiping the god of the intellect.
Never expecting that out of the womb of creation an uncultivated rock, an original cause, will tear the 4000 year old statue down; never expecting, that is, unless one reads the book of Daniel.
The statue is doomed anyway, it stands on an impossible alloy.
We can feel the weight that our tradition is carrying, its feet are cracking under the pressure. Science and politics are failing us. Rationalism is no longer the safe haven it once seemed to be. It is a peddled philosophy, a sign for sale.
The degradation of worldview has continued, as Daniel predicted. I have pictured is as a bar, slowly melting over the relational absolute of Theism, like toffee on your finger. With the compromised rule of Intellectualism over the long tail of Magic. Most people in the world are still governed by the rule of magic; but the world is more Roman than it has ever been, and the intellectual is king.
But the Stone has already broken loose from the mountain side, and is rolling down the hill, shaking off the moss and gathering momentum. In its way stands a man made monstrosity that all the world is bowing to, teetering on it’s cracking feet.
Thomas Cahill end off this post, from “The Gift of the Jews”:
“We can walk through an exhibition, admiring the golden statues of the Pharaohs and the winged gods of Babylon without the least inclination to incline the head or bow the knee. But the Bible is a believer’s history, not a history of art or culture, and one that was all too close to the temptations of Egypt’s fleshpots and Summer’s hieratic cruelties… If God–the Real God, the One God–was to speak to human beings and if there was any possibility of their hearing him, it could happen only in a place stripped of all cultural reference points, where even nature (which was so imbued with contrary, god-inhabited forces) seemed absent. Only amid inhuman rock and dust could this fallible collection of human beings imagine becoming human in a new way. Only under a sun without pity, on a mountain devoid of life, could the living God break through the cultural filters that normally protect us from him.”
Søren Kierkergaard in “Journals”
“What would be the use of discovering so-called objective truth, of working through all the systems of philosophy and of being able, if required, to review them all and show up the inconsistencies within each system; what good would it do me to be able to develop a theory of the state and combine all the details into a single whole, and so construct a world in which I did not live, but only held up to the view of others; what good would it do me to be able to explain the meaning of Christianity if it had no deeper significance for me and for my life; what good would it do me if truth stood before me, cold and naked, not caring whether I recognized her or not, and producing in me a shudder of fear rather than a trusting devotion?”
That is the mantra of the Miracle Man.
As Daniel’s vision of the new world emerges it comes with many surprises. None more so that the fact that the driving force behind these kingdoms is not man made at all.