Creator Against Creature

Ernst Käsemann, in Jesus Means Freedom,writes:

“God’s will is no secret, at least in so far as it concerns love and one’s brother. The creator whom one can play off against the creature is a fake god, and false gods rob even pious people of their humanity, as is shown times without number in the church’s history. We need to keep this very firmly fixed in our minds today. There are Christians who cry down others in the name of a theology of the resurrection, and yet at the same time – with certain reservations, of course – feel able to justify the use of the atomic bomb. It sounds plausible: a bit of genocide and word-wide destruction contrived by men is no great matter to those who are looking only to the new world. But with all their hope of resurrection, such Christians blaspheme against God who, in Jesus, sought man for the purpose of helping him not merely in the next world, but here and now. It is in this context, if anywhere, that we ought to hear, reflect on, and preach, ‘No one can serve two masters’. We cannot serve God if we are no longer concerned for our fellow men.”

Käsemann is not being dramatic. He writes in the wake of German Christianity’s overwhelming support of the Nazi regime. It is simply not enough to have orthodox theology on your side. A Nazi can recite the Nicene Creed before pledging allegiance to Hitler. We now look at Germany’s endorsement of genocide with bewilderment, but do we find ourselves worshiping a god of caprice? We forget our idols are often elusive when we (and those who surround us) frequent their temples.

This deceased New Testament scholar is clear: the god who supports dehumanization of others is an idol. Who will you serve today, God or Mammon?

-ET

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