A recent New York Magazine interview of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia created a minor stir when he mentioned that he believed the Devil was a real personal being. This elicited an outbreak of the vapors on the left like this one from the Huffington Post, e.g. “I think there should be a test to make sure any Supreme Court Justice is living in the century the rest of us are living in,” and “He’s like a relic from the 1870′s.” The HP even included Scalia’s belief in a real Devil as one of the “nine weirdest things” about the interview.
As in my last post about the book of Esther, this highlights what may be the most fundamental issue we face as human beings, is the universe ultimately personal or impersonal?
The modern “scientific” view is that all of reality consists of inanimate particles being acted upon by impersonal forces. Evil is seen as just actions of which we disapprove, and the Devil is seen as just the personification of such conduct. Even clear statements in the Bible about the Devil as a personal being are interpreted as symbolic personifications of an abstract quality.
But where does this line of thinking take us? Does it mean that God is also just a personification of things we like? And what about ourselves? If the universe is ultimately impersonal, and we are just part of the universe, does that mean our defining personal qualities of thought and feeling are also just so many electro-chemical reactions, not differing in essence from white noise? Is a man really the same thing in essence as the chair he sits in?
And if this is so, does that not mean that all of the brilliant scientific and philosophical thought that lead us to this conclusion is not itself white noise, signifying nothing? The assumption of an impersonal universe is self-refuting.
But people like those sophisticates scoffing at Scalia never take their assumptions to their logical conclusion. They only use them provisionally to escape, in their minds, from the Law-word of God, and to make themselves little “gods.” In doing so, ironically, they follow in the very footsteps of the Devil whose fall was precipitated by his own desire to ascend and be like the Most High.
It is true that the scientific method must assume a mechanical, impersonal universe in order to formulate laws and make predictions. But where do such laws come from and who upholds them? The idea of law is taken from the sphere of human action and implies a personal lawgiver. Furthermore, the mechanical paradigm breaks down into a philosophically incompatible stochastic paradigm at the quantum level anyway. Our scientific way of thinking is a practical tool for taking dominion under God. It can never provide God-like ultimate understanding or reality. The scientific method works well for mechanical things, less well for living things, and not well at all for human affairs.
Speaking of the Devil, do not fail to check out David Horowitz’s article on “The Threat We Face.”