Short Meditations in Psalms: 2.1 A Fallen World
Psa 2:1 Why do the nations conspire (or rage) and the peoples plot in vain?
It is a basic spiritual fact, often forgotten by Christians and denied by non-Christians, that we live in a ‘Fallen World’. A world that is different from the way it was when God first made it. Unless you accept this explanation of the state of the world you are left drifting into a depressed and hopeless state about mankind that, in the words of some of my Law students in the past, are just ‘not nice’. An amazing understatement!
Has it always been like this, are we just a bunch of degenerating animals portrayed so graphically in ‘Lord of the Flies’? Is this how it will always be? The Humanist Manifestos have spoken with such optimism about our man-controlled future but seen next to the history of the last hundred years or so, and what is happening in the world today, must be condemned as some of the most unrealistic writings of pretentious dreamers.
If we take this first verse in isolation it might be thought to have nothing to do with God and that’s how we’ll consider it for the moment – the rest will come in the next verse. One thing we Christians are often not very good at, is understanding history. I confess that it was not a subject that grabbed me at school but in more recent years I have come to see the value of understanding much of it.
For instance over the last couple of years I have done a reasonable amount of study on the origins of the First World War which seems particularly apt in the light of this first verse. Our verse speaks of nations conspiring and plotting. Examine the period of history leading up to the start of the First World War and that perfectly describes what was going on. Indeed go on a couple of decades and then study European history in the run up to the Second World War, and you basically find exactly the same.
“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” is one of the most famous slogans from Mao Zedong, and coming in 1927 between the two World Wars it summed up godless mankind’s thinking, exhibited so clearly in both those wars. Violence is how to get what you want!
But what is it that drives humanity to these extreme expressions of self-centredness? The Bible calls it ‘Sin’, the propensity of every single human being to be self-centred and godless. This is why nations fight and couples fight and children fight.
We’ll consider the ‘godless’ dimension in the next study but for now recognise that self-centredness is at the heart of every upset in the affairs of mankind, and that starts with me.