Rebirth of the gods
|Image Source: Wikipedia|
By Dr. Peter Jones - Posted at Reformation 21:
When I moved to the United States from Great Britain in 1964, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. America seemed so Christian then. The only dark blot on the landscape was that people feared the rise of Marxism throughout the world. Communism was the great threat, the political expression of what we call "atheistic humanism."
Two years after I had arrived in America to study theology, I was asked to be part of a seminar on the "Death of God" movement. Some time ago, there was a group of so-called theologians describing the death of God, and it was taken seriously enough to be part of a seminar in a theological school. The whole point was (as expressed by one of its leading theologians, T.J.J. Altizer) that God had so completely incarnated himself in the world by the act of dying on the cross that he liberated man from any alien transcendent divine power. As we sat around, my professor and the students were convinced that this was clearly an indication that secular humanism was victorious--that it was going to overtake the West, and that this was the great opponent of the Christian faith. What we didn't realize was that there was another member of the "Death of God" group by the name of David Miller, who was Professor of Religion at Syracuse University and was actually on the publishing committee for the Society of Biblical Literature. This man had a powerful role in determining what was published on the Bible.
David Miller actually published a book in 1974 (which I discovered much later), entitled The New Polytheism.1 In that book, Miller gave this prediction: at the death of God, we will see the rebirth of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome. It was a confusing prediction: the rebirth of the gods? What does that mean? Miller seemed to know something about the so-called great achievement of secular humanism that nobody else did.2 What Miller had understood was that the death of God was not the death of the notion of the divine; it was the death of the God of the Bible (as Altizer had said, any alien transcendent divine power). You see, that's what people don't want; they don't want the God who is transcendent, sovereign, and independent of us, and so that God has to be killed. Since that time, in their minds, this God has been slowly put to death.