All people are free because God made them so. That is the central proposition for which I will provide biblical evidence here. Furthermore, this proposition has three powerful applications: that is, because all people are free, they are free to think, they are free to speak and they are free to choose. You see, all people, everywhere, all the time are free as a function of who they are—it is an innate human attribute that cannot be taken away or tarnished. Any suggestion otherwise is an affront not to man but to the image of God in which man has been made. Yes, men may place one another in chains, but it is God who has given man the ability to reason with his own mind, out of the reach of tyrants and idols. The human soul is inherently free whatsoever may happen to the body. Hence, another may take my property and possessions, but they cannot take my soul, my thoughts or my will. And for the elect, it is Christ who holds the deeds to their hearts and has set them free to serve Him with all of their heart, soul and might.
If all people are free, what is the definition of freedom? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, freedom is “the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action; liberation from restraint or from the power of another; the quality or state of being exempt from something onerous; unrestricted use; a political right.” I think that definition embodies the negative aspects of freedom: liberation from adverse restraints without. Yet if we were to define freedom positively, it speaks to the liberty a person has within: the uncoerced ability to choose between alternatives.
All human beings are made in the image of God, even those who don’t know God and don’t want Him. Accordingly, in a rare instance of intra-Trinitarian dialogue, the Three Persons of the Godhead counsel together and say in Genesis 1:26-27:
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
God is the freest being, and He created human beings in His image and likeness. Being made in the divine image simply means people are patterned and modeled after God. The Lord thus made humans free from birth in that they breathe their own air, pump their own blood, see with their own eyes and discern with their own minds. Because freedom is woven into the very fibers of our DNA, freedom is natural and personal. Hence, because God has set man free, no one can put him in chains. You can sacrifice your freedom, but you cannot sacrifice mine. Personal liberty is therefore insulated from tyrants, political coercion and the tyranny of the majority.
The divine mind reasons, yet the Creator is unique in that He reasons under the irresistible persuasion of holy omnipotence. Consequently, when God made Adam and Eve, a Father gave to His children of Himself: He gave them a mind that reasons, and therefore freedom to think and choose. And to paraphrase John Milton, reason is but choosing, and had it been any other way, Adam and Eve would not be free: they would be artificial and non-human. God set before Adam freedom and a provoking object; He set before him obedience and the associated reward, disobedience and the associated curse. God did not set before Adam a filtered reality, a coerced Paradise or the forcible hindrance of evil-doing; He set before Adam light and darkness, righteousness and sin. God made man knowing that Adam would fall, yet still imparted in him the freedom to choose. God made man knowing that the first Adam would fall only to set up the glorious triumph of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
This provides a biblical foundation for human freedom as revealed in the Old Testament, as it applies to all people in general. But what about Christians in particular?
In his first epistle, the apostle Peter writes to those Christians who are scattered throughout Asia. He writes to them about the living hope they have in Christ as well as the comfort of a sure salvation. He reminds the saints that they are living stones designed to fit into a spiritual house in which Christ is the chief cornerstone. Subsequently, as a function of what God has done and who the people resultantly are—a chosen race and a people set apart for God’s own possession—Peter exhorts the dispersed to live and act in all things for God’s glory. That’s the context in which the text says in I Peter 2:16:
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
“Freedom” is translated from the Greek root ἐλευθερία, which refers to freedom, liberty and the state of being free. This freedom stands in direct contrast to the constraints of the Mosaic Law, which the New Testament looks on as slavery (cf. Galatians 2:4, 5:1). The freedom of God is antithetical to the slavery of corruption, and the freedom that God purchased for His elect through His Son has a comprehensive character: God secured the freedom for His own once and for all.
It is critically important to note that biblical freedom never means autonomy. That is, a Christian is never free to simply do what he wants to do, when and how he wants to do it. God is forever sovereign, and Christian freedom means being free to do the will of the Lord in all things. Hence, the regenerate are free to love and serve the Lord while the reprobate are not. Truly, freedom is never license, and it has its end as the glory of God and the love one’s neighbor. Biblical freedom never has its ultimate end focused on the self, a political cause or an idea; biblical freedom is Christocentric. For of what value is it for a man to be “free” to do what is right in his own eyes now, only to inherit hell forever? That is not freedom. It is slavery dressed up to look like freedom. And it cannot be missed that slavery is egalitarian: all outcomes are equal in the chains of servitude.
Man Is Free to Think
The first application of innate human freedom is that man is free to think.
God has esteemed human dignity to such a high degree that man has the freedom to think and consider not to choose God. Did not God give Adam the freedom to reason within himself and make an uncoerced decision to disobey God? If man were not free to think, then why would Adam choose to believe the lies of Satan as opposed to the truth of God? If man were not free to think, then why would Christ command those who heard His words to change their mind (or repent) and instead believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15)? Because man is free to think, he is able to saturate his mind with thoughts that are opposed to God. Now, if God has given man this freedom, who else is to suggest otherwise?
Consider the words that the Lord speaks to the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 1:18-20 the Lord invites His listeners to think, judge and then make a legal determination. The invitation is real because the hearers possess the genuine ability of free thought. The text says:
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Furthermore, God commands His children to set their minds on heavenly things, not earthly ones (Romans 8:5-6 and 12:2; II Corinthians 10:5; Colossians 3:8). God commands what He enables: in this case, He commands thought to be fixed on a desired object. In Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul wrote:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
René Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am.” He is correct. It is also true to say, “I think, therefore I am free,” because the act of thinking itself involves not the forced computation of isolated information but the balanced consideration of the totality of facts in order to arrive at an informed conclusion. Freedom is the seed and thought is the fruit. Thought is therefore just another piece of evidence of the divine fingerprint on humankind. The more free a man is, the more he thinks. Only slavish machines compute what they are programmed to, because they are not free to think.
Free thought begets free speech, for words are the fruits of reason and ideas. This brings me to the second application.
Man Is Free to Speak
The second application of innate human freedom is that man is free to speak. Again, I resort back to creation. As John Milton wrote in Areopagitica:
God uses not to captivate [man] under a perpetual childhood of prescription, but trusts him with the gift of reason to be his own chooser; there were but little work left for preaching, if law and compulsion should grow so fast upon those things which [previously] were governed only by exhortation.
The point that Milton was making here is that all humankind is gifted with reason by God. The Lord then saw it fit to use the power of speech in the gospel to appeal to man’s mind. This means that, with eternity at stake, the omniscient God of the universe thought it good that His eternal gospel be freely preached alongside false gospels, with man being enabled to discern and evaluate alternatives. The point is simple: heaven’s logic favors free speech. Let then no man ever suppress it.
To paraphrase the Ancient Greek tragedian Euripides, this is true liberty: when people, who are born free, speak out in public; they are not coerced to hold their peace but are unhindered from speaking freely. You see, thoughts are subliminal, but speech is perceptible by another. Therefore, the most fitting indicator of freedom in any society can be measured by freedom of speech: it signifies that every person’s thoughts are their own, and they are free to express their own mind with their own words. It is no mistake that the Lord decided to memorialize His Word to His people in the form of speech: either God speaking directly or using a human vessel to communicate divine words that are breathed out. God freely spoke “in the beginning,” and His words created the world as we know it. Words have life, and therefore the suppression of speech is linked to a disdain for life. In fact, as long as people enjoy the freedom to think and speak as they will, humankind will thrive and advance. It is not a coincidence that in those regimes of the past and present where a person is not free to speak, they also tend not to be free in general. To destroy freedom, then, one begins with suppression of speech, but he who suppresses speech suppresses reason itself. This suppression is an affront to a sovereign God who made man to speak freely. For as long as the Lord commands the preaching of His gospel (Romans 10:17), man is free to speak.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” That is to say, no one can expect to be ignorant and free, for there is wisdom and security in knowledge and information. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.” What Jefferson understood is that in the marketplace of ideas, the good ones always rise to the top because truth exhibits its highest virtue when juxtaposed against the lie and used to refute error. A man who freely says, “This is wrong, there is a better way” therefore does more for the common good than one who sheepishly says, “I agree” without scrutiny.
Free speech is profitable; censorship of speech is dangerous. Censorship is also a threat to the vibrancy of life and an insult to human dignity. Censorship is antithetical to freedom of speech because censorship crushes learning and discovery; in its quest to eliminate “error,” what invariably happens is the suppression of the truth in the crusade against the lie. Because censorship invariably excludes the truth, what’s left is deceit: meaning, you get more of what you’re trying to prevent. In fact, with censorship, falsehoods proliferate even faster because they have more channels to utilize and no truth to expose them.
Censorship not only limits what we know now, but also inhibits what may be discovered by blunting the exchange of ideas. Censorship therefore breeds an environment of ignorance and vilifies both the living and the dead; it muzzles those who wish to speak now and also muzzles those who have spoken a long time ago. Yes, bad (and hurtful and destructive) ideas will come forth in the marketplace, but let them come so that they may be judged as being bad. Yes, free speech means all speech is lawful, although that speech may not always be profitable. Yes, there are many who will violently reject beautiful truths, but excellent speech is not fitting for fools (Proverbs 17:7). Consequently, when speech is evaluated, by what standard are judgments made? By the truth, which will be recognized as such by its pervasive availability. Hence, if an idea is to be rejected by private individuals, it must first be examined before being refuted with good reason based on facts. A man is free to wrestle with ideas and sharpen the razor of his own reason with thoughts and words. Censorship disallows the uniting of scattered facts in order to develop a cohesive opinion.
Censorship is a moral evil because it serves as a hindrance to the greatest good. What the Bible makes plain to us is that the greatest good comes about not in the absence of evil but in the presence of it. The grace of God in salvation is so marvelously excellent because of the abominations of sin. God predestined that His children would live in a world full of pain and suffering so that His providential hand would enable us to persevere in spite of these evils. God did not allow reality to progress without a devil but with one here on earth, looking for souls to devour. The point is that suppression of speech is not only immoral but also not reasonable: it is in the presence of lies that the truth shines forth the most as conqueror.
Consider what Paul writes in II Timothy 3:16-17. The text says:
All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.
In the original Greek, the word translated as rebuke refers to testing by trial or the expression of strong disapproval. Correction is translated from a Greek word that refers to something that is useful for improvement. Meaning what? That the truthfulness and usefulness of Scripture is seen best in its refutation of non-truths and in its ability to lead people to something better, as decreed by the Word of God. The simple principle is that it is divine design for speech never to be suppressed; rather, speech is called to always be free so that the enduring power of the truth can be proven by its supremacy and sufficiency in refutation of present error, not in segregated isolation. This demonstration is both sanctifying for the individual and edifying for the Church. After all, it took the heresy of the Roman Catholic Church to spark the light of the Reformation. It took the heresies of the false teachers in Timothy’s day to inspire Paul to write a letter to his friend where he encouraged him to:
[P]reach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (II Timothy 4:2)
It took the heresies of the false teachers of Jesus’s day for Him to call them out and say:
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Jesus Christ—the physical manifestation of Truth itself—was no stranger to conflict and strife. Why? Because He always spoke the truth, and the truth is offensive. Error always has a violent reaction to the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ and many other titans of the Christian faith—including the prophet Jeremiah, the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J. C. Ryle and Charles Spurgeon—testify to the fact that no man ever speaks the truth without the scars to prove it. Consequently, no person who sincerely loves the truth will ever refrain from fighting for it with words. You see, true discernment only thrives in an environment of controversy. In fact, controversy is a sign that men are still struggling and are in pursuit of truth. Where there is no controversy, then either the people are lobotomized or there is apathy for eternal matters. Where minds are vibrant and active, there is a healthy desire to discern; subsequently, there will also be much speaking, writing, debating, arguing and the publication of divergent opinions. Using the model of the Church as an analogy, unity does not therefore consist in the perfect cohesion of homogenous parts, but in the interconnectedness of heterogeneous pieces. This is what tolerance truly is: where we patiently listen to all those who wish to speak, even if we ultimately come to radically different conclusions. All may speak because they are free to do so, but the end in mind is the truth. Censorship is therefore never a sign of societal health; it is a sign of societal disease and decay. Censorship is a symptom indicating that some want to hide the truth, or that they have become so used to the lie that they no longer recognize the truth.
Censorship also creates divisions and grows factions. Again, to quote John Milton from Areopagitica:
[A] dream of well-doing should be preferred before many times as much the forcible hindrance of evil-doing. For God sure esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous person more than the restraint of ten vicious … [N]ot to count [a man] fit to print his mind without a tutor and examiner, lest he should drop a schism, or something of corruption, is the greatest displeasure and indignity to a free and knowing spirit that can be put upon him … I endure not an instructor that comes to me under the wardship of an overseeing fist … Truth is compared in Scripture to a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in a perpetual progression, they [stagnate] into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition … [T]hey who counsel [you] to such a suppressing do as good as to bid [you] suppress yourselves.
What Milton says here is that censorship creates a system of segregation of speech: those who are muzzled and those who are not. Typically, those who speak are only given a voice because they adhere to the pre-approved sacrosanct doctrines. What inevitably results is anger, bitterness and strife: those on different sides of the filter begin weaponizing words against one another, which creates a conflict that free speech never produces. Censorship is intellectual feudalism, and a love of such tyranny can only come about where there is a hatred of freedom, and a hatred of the people who are innate possessors of liberty in speech. This is basic human nature: if you tell a man he cannot do something, then his desire to do it increases.
Furthermore, the censors are as dangerous as the censorship itself because the censors are never neutral. They are not neutral in their hatred of free speech, and they tend to have a bias for power. Consequently, why would it ever be assumed to be true that the ultimate good is the one chosen by the censor (e.g., the State, an institution, a social media platform)? Why is the censor’s scale of morality deemed righteous and those against it deemed depraved? The censors are not superior as a function of their own nature. In fact, the censors are the most immoral when they suppress free speech; they are the most virtuous when they embrace free speech and are willing to censor their own censorship. The result is a bias for truth, not preference. After all, how could any reasonable person trust a censor unless it is perfect, unbiased, infallible and not corrupt?
The censors are in fact far more dangerous than those who purposely propagate false information, because it is the censors who rely on coercion; the false prophets must still rely on persuasion. You see, censors never have a virtuous purpose: they either doubt the strength of the truth or they are afraid of what it has to say. Censors are intellectual and moral cowards; instead of fighting on the field of reason, they would rather fix the fight so none will exercise their intellectual vigor. The result is that the worst rise to the top and the best are silenced, shamed or ridiculed. Censorship is tyranny over knowledge and learning.
Beloved, do we not realize that the Bible is the most offensive speech ever produced? What does the Word of God tell us? That man is a depraved sinner destined for hell; that man cannot save himself and instead strives to be the king of his own dunghill in Sheol; that man can do nothing for God and that the Lord hates man’s righteousness. The Christian therefore ought to be the very last person to condone censorship lest anyone censor the preaching of the gospel.
God made all humans to be free, therefore all are free to speak regardless of those false restraints put upon them without. History provides a reason for hope, because it is in times of strict censorship that the voice of the suppressed has grown stronger. Biblical and secular history also teaches us that in times of darkest despair, that is when God raises up men of extraordinary ability to revive the light of truth that has been covered over with the shades of censorship. After darkness, light. I will again quote John Milton from Areopagitica:
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
This brings me to my third application.
Man Is Free to Choose
The third application of innate human freedom is that man is free to choose based on the strongest inclination of his will. Man is free to deliberate, to make decisions and to choose between alternatives. Humans are thus distinguished from animals by their freedom to choose based on morality and to do either good or evil. Indeed, a person may choose that which ultimately acts against their own self-interest. Freedom of choice does not imply that a person is only free to choose that which is righteous, beneficial to self or for the “common good.” Ultimately, for as long as people are free to reject God and to do what is right in their own eyes, then man is free to choose; yet man is also free to reap the full consequences of his choices.
Freedom to choose is grounded theologically in two separate phenomena: conscience and individual autonomy. God has installed a spy in the hearts of all people: that spy is called the human conscience. The conscience is the invisible place where that which is known about God is evident within the person because God has made Himself evident in the conscience (Romans 1:19). Conscience is the subtle whisper that convicts you that a thing is either virtuous or immoral; it imparts peace where there is harmony between conscience and deeds, and it causes strife when there is a mismatch. Conscience cannot be silenced, nor does it ever stop preaching the truth. What does happen is that a person may suppress the truth in unrighteousness; what results is a softening of the whisper and a progressive descent into depravity. Subsequently, in one of life’s grand ironies, when a man rejects his Maker, the Lord is in turn free to give that person exactly what he wants: a life where God leaves him alone and hands him over to himself. The result is not freedom but rather slavery to sin.
Accordingly, the basic point is that conscience speaks and persuades; it does not coerce. Rather, God’s spy convicts the will. The Christian is not called to act against the conscience that God has embedded within him or her. To disobey conscience would be a betrayal of faith and a sin. Hence, all Christians are called to live by faith, which animates a person’s own convictions before God. Happy is the one who does not condemn himself in what he approves (Romans 14:22). Because God is sovereign, anything that is not God is not sovereign. And people are free to choose, but when a conflict of allegiances exists, a Christian is called to obey the ultimate authority, for it is better to obey the Lord than men. Consequently, any law that compels a man to act against conscience in essence “unlaws” itself.
Freedom to choose is also grounded theologically in the Imago Dei, or the fact that all human beings are made in the image of God. This means all individuals have a God-given right to individual autonomy: this autonomy includes the freedom to choose, the freedom to either consent or not consent and the freedom to be left alone. To supplant autonomy would desecrate the image of God in people, equating to a pollution of the sacredness of the divine image and the subsequent degradation and dehumanization of the individual. Even conscience testifies to the veracity of freedom of choice, because when a person is forced to act against his will, conscience animates the undue burdens of anxiety, strife and restlessness.
Even though a person may possess individual autonomy, they are not autonomous: they do not have absolute freedom and are not free to sacrifice the freedom of another for their benefit. As long as a person does not violate the personal or property rights of others, then that person is free to choose and to do what they please. As stated, that does not imply what a person chooses to do will be virtuous or moral; they remain at liberty to choose accordingly. That also does not imply that some choices will not be deemed sins by the Lord. In the end, it is His prerogative to do something about the practice of these things now, and He most certainly will do something about all of these things when history ends. Many often regard limiting the freedom of choice as virtuous if it is done for the “public good” or “to keep everyone safe” or for “national security” or “to keep everyone healthy.” What history teaches us, however, is that free people have accepted the devil’s bargain of trading liberty for safety when they are fearful. In a time of crisis, it seems that less freedom equals more security. It never does. In fact, trading freedom for liberty is the dream of the State (i.e., secular authority or political institutions that wield the power of the sword) because it gets to secure dominance without any resistance. What people who take the bargain don’t realize in the moment is that a State that can heal must also be a State that can kill. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” And, to quote Edward Burke, “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
In reality, anyone (or anything) who chooses to impose their choice on me is in fact declaring themselves to possess a freedom greater than any individual: it’s supra-individual autonomy, which is tyranny in the name of freedom. Greater freedom for myself only results by either thinking myself to be more like God or thinking another to be less than human. Regardless, while censorship of choice may pretend to look like virtue on the surface, in reality it has a dehumanized view of other people and an utter disdain of the God who gifted freedom. Anyone who pretends to be moral by coercing you to do something or by maliciously limiting your options—their moral crusade falls apart, and they lose all moral credibility when resorting to tyranny. You cannot promote health by using poison as medicine.
Invariably, one person will violate the principle of non-aggression (e.g., Thou shall not murder, steal, lie) and violate the person or property of their neighbor. This is why the State is necessary: to use coercion in order to ensure that one person does not aggress against the other, preserving maximum freedom for everyone. In an ideal world, the State would be an institution that is freedom-preserving, cognizant that God is freedom-promoting. In the fallen world in which we live, history tells us that the State is freedom-consuming. This is logical, cognizant that the State tends to be godless.
Let us be mindful that the Bible never called for secular authority to enforce God’s Law when there is no actual victim: that is, when there is no measurable harm to person or measurable damage to property. Biblically speaking, then, such concepts as “crimes against society” or “against the greater good” do not exist, because the victim is a phantom and damages are supposed, not proven. Biblically speaking, the collectivist social contract does not exist, and a crime is not committed due to an individual life choice that potentially endangers the rights of others but causes no actual harm.
The crucial point not to miss here is that when it comes to limiting freedom of choice, many often defer to the State in order to be told what is lawful or not; using this logic simply proves that God is not your authority because the State is. The State is simply composed of other humans, and it is embedded in human nature to yearn for freedom. That is why the State can be so dangerous: because people are yearning for freedom. The difference is that they will now use the power of the State to increase their freedom while sacrificing yours. Individual freedom and State control are polar opposites. We live in a time when people will unquestioningly obey authority and erroneously ascribe virtue to uncritically “following orders” or “doing what the doctor tells me.” Let us not forget that German medical professionals were sentenced to death on June 2, 1948, because they were just “following orders.”
This is the beauty of the Creator’s design: that all people are fully, equally and unquestioningly free. Limitation of freedom of choice (tyranny) only results when men forget that they are men and instead say in their hearts, “I will ascend and be like the Most High.” We must therefore all remember that we are free by design and not allow ourselves to succumb to the ultimate inversion: where no one is free to choose and the State is free to do whatever it pleases (which includes choosing for you). Without freedom of choice, people are only free to act by permission, and choice is reserved for memories. Therefore, choose freedom and live free. The evil of tyranny never sleeps but only waits; it waits for an opportune crisis so that people will relinquish freedom for safety and inherit neither.
Application: What Slavery Looks Like
If God made people free, then why have people always tried to put others in chains (both literally and figuratively)? What helps to make sense of the oppression that has plagued humanity since the beginning of time? What helps to make sense of what has happened all over the world in the past 18 months: that heads of State, governors, mayors and local leaders have created dictatorial powers and exercised those powers to interfere with individual autonomy? They have all done this with an utter disregard for the fact that people are inherently free.
Well, as I have explained before in a prior post (“Antonio Gramsci and the Narrative Behind the Narrative,” dated 09/09/20), what we are seeing unfold before our very eyes is an attempt to create a new culture of Statism where secular authority is free to do as it pleases and individuals are demoted to slaves who are merely granted permission. A free State that sovereignly rules over a population of servants is antithetical to biblical Christianity; this is why the narrative behind the narrative is to overthrow the moral and intellectual foundation of biblical Christianity in the West. The intent is to throw away the idea that God made people free; as a result, all people are not created equal and we are not endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights—this includes individual freedom. Accordingly, the only way to nudge a Marxist-inspired revolution would be to make the West as godless as possible so that our faith in the Judeo-Christian moral system would crumble. And this is the point: there are many disruptions happening in the present that are precursors leading up to the grand rebellion against the Lord. There is one big metanarrative: the de-Christianization of the West and the overthrow of the authority of God. This begets many smaller, but related narratives, like the overthrow of freedom of assembly, dissent and religion; the overthrow of bodily autonomy, parental rights over their children and voluntary exchange. In this progressive revolution, there is no murder by a single gunshot wound to the head, but death by tens of thousands of papercuts: small losses of freedom will therefore incrementally add up to a total loss of freedom.
So, what will replace the Christian foundation in the West? What will remain is a new standard of so-called “truth” that has nothing to do with the objective truth at all. The new standard of truth will be the State, which is now free from God and therefore autonomous—free from all “oppressive,” “antiquated” hegemonic systems so that it is at liberty to simply do what it wants to do, regardless of morality and the inherent freedom of other people. Now, you tell me: for a secular authority to think and act like that, who else does that sound like? Which character in the Bible protested against God and rebelled against Him so that he could be like God? Who is the one who said in his heart, “I will ascend and be like the Most High,” so he could reign in a universe in which he was king? The answer is Satan himself. So, if you really want to know who’s the grand architect of the narrative behind the narratives, it’s the devil himself. We know it’s the devil because the purpose of the ideological revolution is to overthrow Christ so that there will be a new sovereign authority: the State. Men are satisfied with earthly rewards (like money and women), while politicians are happy with power and influence. Totalitarians (or, worshippers of the State) are anti-Christ and therefore want total control over every area of your life. Unfortunately, many people don’t see the flaming dragon blowing fire into the ideology of totalitarianism, which is why they can figuratively “take a bite,” not recognizing that they are being manipulated and recruited into a campaign against omnipotence.
But why is this? Why is it that some people are willing to take the devil’s bargain and yield their freedoms in order to “be safe”? The answer is simple: because many actually believe that yielding their God-given freedom is the right thing to do. Totalitarianism never arises in a vacuum; it always requires the obedience of a segment of a population. The fact remains that for any power to control a population for any length of time, a modicum of consent must exist.
Frederick Douglass once said, “I have found that, to make a contented slave, it is necessary to make a thoughtless one.” And to paraphrase the words of author Robert Anton Wilson, a happy slave always thinks of themself as virtuous rather than cowardly. Sadly, for those with a weak heart and mind, submission to the State is a gift instead of a curse. They believe there is safety in the cage that traps them, and anyone who seeks escape must either be a crazy radical or dangerous. After all, if God made people free, then everyone who is enslaved must now question their own existence.
And why are slaves driven to rejoice in their servitude? People are made to delight in their chains when they are demoralized: that is, when they are tricked into rejecting an objective, divine morality; when they lose human dignity and believe that they are not image bearers of God. It is from this perspective that they begin to see themselves as deserving of tyranny and they yearn for tyranny to keep them safe. Because they lack a real standard of morality, they are therefore ill-equipped to recognize evil as such and to respond to unrighteousness with a firm “Absolutely not!” Demoralization turns people into uncritical cowards who always fail to think for themselves and flee to safety in a crowd or look to others to interpret reality for them. Ironically, the demoralized have a well-developed survival instinct that is incessantly focused on self-preservation. As a result, they can be manipulated the most effectively so long as they are made to fear that which threatens their own life (the nebulous threat of the other). The result of making a demoralized person afraid is that they become suggestible and will embrace with equal force light and darkness, reason and foolishness. This is the person to whom the State can say, “Slavery is freedom, ignorance is wisdom,” and the person will respond reflexively by saying, “Yes, lord.”
It would be wrong to assume that the person who yields to totalitarianism is just “sheeple” or an “imbecile.” It would also be wrong to assume that the totalitarians are so smart that their message is irresistible. Instead, the person who is self-enslaved and deceived by the rhetoric must in some way approve of oppression and think they will gain from it. As alluded to before, totalitarianism can only thrive if there is a fundamental portion of the population that loves it and wants it to exist. This population worships the State and says in their hearts, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (Revelation 13:4).
Lovers of totalitarianism are religious: they glorify the State, and for those in power, they worship their own authority by proxy. This is a common theme among most cults: the worth of their faith originates not in truth but rather in their power to hurt those not in the cult. For the totalitarian, the State is a weapon that is wielded against those whose values are antithetical to the State. Biblically speaking, the State is supposed to be defensive and protective. Satanically speaking, the State is offensive and murderous.
Because worshippers of totalitarianism are demoralized, they know that secular authority tramples on the life, liberty and happiness of others, yet they still delight in the destruction of other people’s freedoms. This is readily evident in the present day when (for example) certain people are zealously “concerned” with the individual medical decisions that other people make. Yet this “concern” translates into absolutely no concern for inherent human dignity or freedom; they still lust after control, do not care what is right or wrong and are only concerned about whether you obey. As I have communicated many times before, there is only one division of people that matters in eternity: that which divides the elect and the non-elect. In the same line of thought, there is one line that divides people when it comes to their perspective of secular power: those who assent to the truth that all people are free and those who want to control others by consuming everyone else’s freedom. Free people “cause trouble” only when they are first bothered by tyrants, but tyrants aggressively bother everyone because they regard people as less-than-nothings.
What else characterizes the demoralized person who loves totalitarianism? First, because they adhere to no external, objective morality, they can accept false substitutes and even look inward to find moral validation. Subsequently, all tyrants (and disciples of tyrants) believe themselves to be righteous in their cause, even when they practice unrighteousness. By implication, everyone else must also be unrighteous. Tyrants not only delight in their sins but approve of others who engage in depravity.
Second, the lover of totalitarianism finds safety and security in the crowd and is unable to stand as an individual: that is because evil can only justify itself when it has company. What a tyrant can never do is stand by himself in the face of resistance. This is why he must flee to the safety of the crowd and blend into the collective. Only a demoralized person can reason to himself and say, “This must be okay because everyone else is doing it.” Subsequently, while he derives comfort from being one among many, those who stand outside of the group are demonized as unworthy heretics. In a totalitarian regime, all the “heroes” conform and all the “villains” dissent. Hence, slavery is freedom and depravity is virtue. For a simple explanation of what the State-slave thinks, I will quote from Yevgeny Zamyatin’s famous dystopian novel We. There, the narrator and lead character, D-503, expresses how he thinks. He says:Top of Form
I don’t want to budge … I’m afraid. What’ll I turn into? And it seems to me that everyone is like me—they’re all afraid of the slightest movement. Take right now, while I’m writing this. Everyone’s sitting all closed up in his own glass cage waiting for something … What will happen tomorrow? What will I turn into tomorrow?
Third, the lover of totalitarianism embraces fear as a weapon. Because this fear is manufactured, it is irrational and neither grounded in reality nor related to an actual threat. Ironically, while tyrants delight in manufacturing fear to manipulate people, they are the ones who are in fact terrified of exposure (because they are frauds), terrified of a fight (because they are weak cowards), terrified of the truth (because they are liars) and terrified of death (because they live for nothing more than themselves right now). Embracing fear means that in a totalitarian society, those who rise to the top lack honor, are the most immoral and are the most incompetent. They are the most zealously devoted to the lie of totalitarianism, and their belief in this lie is why they consent. This is why the truth is anathema to them. As a result, the tyrants who hate freedom perceive free individuals as aliens whom they cannot understand: they cannot understand how it is possible for someone to think and go against the collective when they are in the minority and the risks are so high. Because they don’t understand it, they resort either to laughter or to ridicule. They sling labels such as “stupid,” “crazy” or “selfish.” For, if the State is god, then why would a man raise arms against the most high?
Application: What Freedom Looks Like
If slaves are driven to rejoice and delight in their servitude, then what do free people do? The answer is: they enjoy their freedom and hold on to their personal liberty with both hands. They know that they are already free, and therefore it would be ludicrous for anyone or anything else to deny them their freedom. They understand that as a function of being human, they possess certain God-given, inalienable rights that can never be supplanted nor taken away by a government, an institution or a law. They are therefore free to live as liberated individuals regardless of whether the secular power they live under has not yet matured to embrace and honor innate human freedom. They are free to live this way because their liberty has been assigned by God Himself.
So, what characterizes a free person? First, they are moralized. They adhere to what is true: an external, objective morality that refuses to accept the lie and cling to false substitutes. This means the antidote to demoralization is to cling to the divine biblical principles as quickly as you can in order that you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The free person has stepped out of the darkness and into the light. A free person understands that if they were to look exclusively inward to find truth, then nothing and everything would be true at the same time. Freedom-loving individuals believe in the virtue of freedom, not just for themselves but for all individuals. Of course, they think themselves to be righteous in their cause, but they also believe that others are free to pursue unrighteous causes so long as they do not aggress upon another. Lovers of freedom do not delight in sin but will never cease to call sin what it is: evil and immoral. A lover of freedom hates and despises violence because it violates not only the freedom of others, but also the principle of non-aggression. Only tyrants believe in violence, because they are not free to think upon higher moral principles.
Second, the lover of freedom may find safety and security in the crowd of freedom-lovers, but they also understand that truth is not measured by its number of disciples, and that dissent has no innate virtue or vice. Lovers of freedom understand that those who speak and live the truth will always bear the scars to prove it, and often those who are most convicted by what is true stand alone. Truth remains settled forever, regardless of whether it has company or not. A lover of freedom is always willing to stand by himself despite resistance and recognizes that that a crowd may often resort to degrees of tyranny that an individual cannot. Freedom-minded people champion the individual, which is exactly why they do not want to aggress upon others: because they sincerely care about those people’s individual freedom. Freedom-minded people also tend to form the strongest communities, as individuals honor other individuals: the focus is not therefore exclusively on the self but also on the other. Other-focus encourages self-sacrifice and builds communities that are foundational to any society: examples include the family, the Church and the nation. There is wisdom in embracing freedom, and wisdom teaches a person that you are called to control no one but yourself. You are responsible to respect the innate dignity in your neighbors.Top of Form
Third, the lover of freedom embraces love as a way of life. Because this love is genuine, it is rational and always grounded in reality. It does not perceive other people as inherent threats but understands that a present enemy may actually be a future ally in disguise: at the moment, their mind may just be held captive by a deceitful idea. Love—in animating purposeful acts of the will—can often change hearts in a way that arguments or coercion can never dream of. Love never seeks to manipulate people, but to serve them. Love always involves risk: yes, I may be exposed, but that is acceptable because, as opposed to making you suffer, I will endure it in your place. Hence, freedom-lovers are willing to risk their lives now to save future generations from tyranny. Love embraces the truth and is terrified of what the lie can do. There is no fear in love, and those who are genuinely motivated by love are bold and courageous because they have found a purpose outside of themselves. As it says in I Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant. It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; it keeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love can often be hard, and oftentimes love hurts. But God has never called anyone to do anything perfectly. Perfection is not required of you, but an unceasing pursuit of love is. Therefore, fear not, and do not be discouraged when love is hard: what may seem extreme in the moment is normal for everyone else headed in the same direction. Remember what the love of God did for His elect: He sent His Son to die for us when we were enemies of the Lord (Romans 5:10). Therefore, never let out of your mind the thoughts of a Crucified Christ. Change your mind by emptying it of your imaginations and filling it with the Word of God. It therefore matters not what men ultimately think of you; it does matter what God thinks of you. The child of God is free to love because God has made them so.
Conclusion: God Has Made You Free, So Live Like It
All people are free because God made them so. That is the central proposition that I have provided evidence for here. I hope what I have shown is not only that freedom is superior, but that living a free existence is also the most authentically human. God is the ultimate giver of life, and in order for any human being to live as God intended, they must live it freely. There is a marvelous freedom embedded within the fibers of every human being that inspires him or her to create, to dream, to love, to fall, to rise and to change the world. Accordingly, if we surrender our individual selves to a perverse authority that crushes human freedom, then we will fail in the vigilance that is the price of freedom. When a body is healthy, the blood is pure and the soul is dynamic; accordingly, it is the vigor of spiritual health that compels a soul to strive for freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “Freedom only comes through persistent revolt, through persistent agitation, through persistently rising up against the system of evil.”
The late Dr. King also said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” This latter quote, however, is based on the assumption that man must be given freedom here on Earth. That assumption is wrong. The fact is that man is already free because freedom has already been given by God. It is therefore our responsibility to live and act as free people, not as slaves. The first thing that must be unchained is your mind. Subjugated people cannot remain subjugated forever; eventually the conscience reminds a person of their birthright of freedom, and the innate human desire for liberty breaks forth. If there is an authority that attempts to deny innate human freedom with suppression of thought, speech and choice, then it is clear that such an authority loses all moral credibility: they are not only rebelling against the Imago Dei, they are trying to usurp the Creator Himself. Dr. King also said that “any individual who is not concerned about his freedom commits an act of moral and spiritual suicide.” Let us therefore not pretend to be dead and unconcerned with freedom, but live as if we have been raised to new life and live for our Liberator. Beloved, there is something better than self: a free society where freedom is enjoyed by all as a vibrant, penetrating principle. As Christ says in John 8:36:
So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal
Again, this does not suggest that man is autonomous, is independent of God’s sovereignty or does not think based on a prior inclination. ↑
By “censorship,” I refer to any entity that examines speech for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on whatever grounds. This suppression refers to speech in the public square and does not apply to private circles that voluntarily assemble. Yes, all people are free to speak everywhere all the time, but that does not mean everyone must listen to everyone else. People are also free to turn away their ears. ↑
And what inclines a person’s will is a deeper theological issue beyond the scope of the topic at hand. The simple note to be made here is that no person chooses without a prior inclination, for without the inclination, the person does not choose. The mere presence of a pre-existing inclination in no way diminishes freedom, because the inclination does not eliminate the natural ability to pursue alternatives. ↑