Response to “Myth Understandings” by David Shanahan in NGT Aug 26/20 pg 16
The Old Testament records the history of Israel and many of its neighboring nations and superpowers. The record indicates the rise and fall of these nations. Israel, as it rose in power became corrupt within its leadership and peoples. Prophets were sent to Israel to act as “covenant lawyers” to indicate the corrupt ways they were headed that would bring about their demise. This “covenant” with God was a binding agreement to conduct themselves as individuals to the highest moral and ethical standards.
Israel, as all nations, failed in this endeavor and paid the price of corruption. The story of Christ, at a minimum, records an individual who lived out his life to the highest possible standard. Christ lived a life of truthfulness, leadership, mercy, love, healing and sacrifice. This life and story became the bedrock of western thoughtful struggle over the centuries, the idea of the sanctity and value of the individual combined with the responsibility of every individual to conduct themselves to the highest standards. The individual is more important than the state, for the “state” is merely the collection of individuals that seek to jointly enhance their lives through cooperation. But the states’ collection of individuals must conduct themselves to the highest principles possible and with such high principles, any state will be successful. There is a saying, “the people get the leadership they deserve”. Perhaps more realistically, “the people get the leaders that the individuals produce”. That is to say, as individuals in the state, it is the responsibility of the parents and teachers to teach and demand those aforementioned standards set by Christ. Remember the story of Cain and Abel? Which child would you prefer? Then as the child grows up to become an adult, which would you rather marry? And which would you prefer as president? That is why Solomon wrote “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”.
Christ indicated that His kingdom was not of this world. He was absolutely correct! Any kingdom in which all individuals would conduct themselves according to His example would be “out of this world”.
Willem Van Dam