We often focus on the postmodern attempts at deconstructing power, the most common currently being the so-called white, patriarchal hegemony, e.g. “all of this western culture is white supremacist and misogynist,” etc. But we must never forget that this claim to know, this claim to see hidden power plays, this claim to be “woke” is actually a claim to power. The postmodern claim “everything is a power play” – some kind of oppression, tyranny, racism – should be answered with (in part) the question: Including your claim? You’re attempting to oppress me with that claim, right? Why are you trying to subjugate me with your narrative? No one is actually interested in divesting themselves of all power. In fact, that is utterly impossible. The only question is how we will wield our power: will it be under the Creator God who gave it to us when He made us in His image? Or will it be on our own, to the detriment of the Creator’s world and those who bear His image? It’s not whether but which.
Ken Myers has a fascinating discussion of power and “cybernetics” on a recent Mars Hill Audio in which he notes that one of the more prominent features of modernism was a widely held belief in the innate goodness of man trying to control and manipulate nature autonomously. That last word is crucial (autonomously), indicating that this modernist impulse is a Christian heresy, a harmful distortion of something good and true. The godly human impulse to take dominion of creation is not autonomous – it is not a law unto itself; it is subject to the law and character of God. Godly human dominion rules in imitation of the God who made all things.
Myers points out that the Greek root of “cyber” means “governance,” and the verb “cybernate” means to control through some kind industrial process. All by itself, Christians need not object to the nouns (“man” “nature”) or verbs (“control” “manipulate”) per se, but we have every reason to object to the adverb (autonomously). It’s a good thing to want to control and manipulate viruses, cancer, technology to serve good purposes, but everything rides on the definition of the good and who gets to define it. Myers cites social scientist Langdon Winner’s work describing the history of modernist ideology, celebrating humanist control over nature: “Nature is the universal prey to manipulate as humans see fit.” ‘As humans see fit’ is just another way of saying “autonomously” as opposed to theonomously, according to God’s law.
While we may wonder whether postmodern scholars can distinguish between dominion discipled by the law of God and domination of nature however “humans see fit,” Winner says that some early modern thinkers like Francis Bacon argued that this impulse to dominate nature was a healthy outlet for twisted dominion instincts. For example, Bacon apparently argued that domination of nature is healthier than domestic or international conquest. “Apparently an ambitious man must subjugate something, and nature, unlike human beings, will not mind subjugation.” This sounds like almost a Freudian take on technology and dominion. If you try to repress those desires and instincts, they will only come out in something harmful and destructive. For some reason, autonomous man does not often see himself and his desires and instincts as part of that nature needing to be controlled and governed. Myers concludes this summary referencing C.S. Lewis’s Abolition of Man and the Terminator movies warning where this “logic of unlimited mastery leads.”
But as though God wanted us to be sure that this Satanic insanity has not left the universe, now comes a new “Meta” advertisement from the makers of Facebook. Images of all the usual virtue signaling Pharisaism roll while voiceovers say creepy things like: “We always ask where will the future take us, but the real question is where will we take the future.” And “There are no closed doors, no walls.” “Don’t be afraid to create the future.” Even a drag queen says, “Imagine a world where we are represented the way we want to be.”
“No closed doors, no walls.” “Where will we take the future.” That’s the old modernism with a postmodern twist. And the Freudian twist is even more direct and obvious. More than one person is depicted in the ad living out their deviant sexual urges, because, the old Freudian mantra goes: suppression of sexual urges and desires will only result in those same urges coming out in unhealthy ways. One wonders what unhealthy alternatives would be left in a world where there are “no closed doors, no walls.” Apparently, there are still some doors and walls, as one university professor found out last week, when put on leave for a paper published on the lives of “minor-attracted persons.” One can never tell whether it is time for the revolution or not, and of course the answer is yes, but it all depends on the mood of the mob at the moment. Which of course only means: give it a minute.
William F. Buckley notes in his classic Up From Liberalism that in the 1950s one of the favorite smears of the Left was to accuse conservatives of being homosexuals. And so conservative Christians need to remember that for well over 70 years the whole goal of accusations from the Left has been power and manipulation. It certainly was not morality or truth, given the fact that nowadays the smear accusation is the exact opposite: accusing conservatives of being homophobes. The thing the Left is obsessed with (oppression, power, abuse) is the thing that they are doing. But this is because God made the world, and He made us in His image. This means that we cannot help but be creative, inventive rulers. We will rule, the only question is how? Will we rule as servants of God? Or will we rule as slaves of men and mobs? Will we rule autonomously or theonomously? Will we rule in obedience to the One who truly divested Himself of His power in order to restore and heal the whole order of Creation? Or will we rule pretending to do so?
And so the question comes down to what are you practicing? What are you practicing in your thought life? What are you practicing in your home? What are you practicing with your words? There may be some tiny, twisted truth in Freud, perhaps there is some energy in various sinful urges or temptations. The Bible does say, ‘Do not give your strength to women.’ And perhaps we should add at this point, especially to men acting like women. And why not? Because that strength, that power, is for doing good. That strength is for leading your home, your wife, your children, your business, your church. That strength is for getting up early and working hard all day. That strength is for standing against evil in your heart, your home, your church, your city. That strength is for building homes, schools, churches, cities that last because they are built on the Rock of Jesus Christ. But if you are not practicing freedom, you are practicing enslavement and tyranny, even if it’s just taking dopamine hits in front of a screen.
The metaverse is a siren song, an invitation to manipulate Creation according to your own whims, but it’s a charade, a lie. The mob cannot make a beautiful future. And as that becomes increasingly clear, certain self-appointed “grownups” will step in and claim to know what is best. Specialists, scientists, elites are these anointed grownups, ordained to direct the excess energy of the mobs. The founding fathers warned of pure democracy precisely because they saw that it has always historically tended to dictatorships. Why does the left scream at Trump, calling him a fascist, a would-be dictator? Because that is what they are thinking about, that is what they are in their hearts, and, as a man thinks, so is he.
Somebody needs to remake the Meta ad with creepy music in the background because it is one of the creepiest things I’ve seen in a long time. There’s absolutely no reason why the ad should not include “minor-attracted people,” and if we can manipulate nature in any way we please, there can be nothing sacred ultimately about other people. Why can’t we manipulate them? What a backward, white-supremacist notion that we cannot do what is “best” for people who are sick or delusional and do not know their place in the world? Perhaps it starts as CGI holograms and 3D fantasies, but in a closed universe without any God or Creator, there can be no logical moral limits: no closed doors, no walls.
Conclusion: It is Finished & Life Has Begun
But the Good News is that Christ really did die and rise again to heal and restore and glorify this world. It isfinished, and there is nothing Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates or any of the Billionaire Tech Wizards can do about it. Christ is risen, and there is nothing they can do to put Him back. We’ve seen this play before. Babel built a tower, and the Aztecs built ziggurats. And every humanistic scheme has crumbled and failed. And so will all of these transgender, transhuman, transanity schemes. The universe is not infinitely malleable. It has fixed limits, and within those fixed limits is unspeakable glory. To defy the God-given limits is to destroy freedom. This is like claiming you love theater but denying the reality of scripts, stages, stories, or audiences. This like claiming to be a musician but denying instruments, sound, musical notation, and rhythm. But if we submit to the Creator’s plan the world is a canvas, an orchestra, a stage, and eye has not seen, ear has not heard what He has prepared for those who love him. It is finished, and therefore, real, abundant, unending life has begun. And all cyborgs are doomed to fail. So get busy creating, building, and inventing. Get married, have kids, and baptize them. Christ is risen, and our work is not in vain.