This idea is even manifested in a recent movie, complete with all the promises of utopia. In the disaster movie 2012, world-wide tragedies strike, culminating with a great flood. Catastrophe is only averted when our savior, the collective governments of the world, all perfect in their own right, save us with a plan that had been stewing all along unbeknownst to the masses. As the plan unfolds, gigantic boats, ingeniously camouflaged, were already in place to admit the multitudes. The boats were perfectly built and immaculately provisioned. They were positioned in just the right place, and helmed by perfect, benevolent, selfless, all-knowing leaders who stood ready and confident, to execute the flawless all-encompassing plan. And, by the way, the plan was brilliantly designed; no issue or person was left out of the consideration. Sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it? In the unstated narrative that continues beyond the boundaries of the movie, we assume that they would all survive, living happily ever after with exactly the right people possessing exactly the right attitudes and skills, ushering in a new age of man, the new post-modern, progressive Eden. Sounds absurdly surreal, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it doesn’t correspond with reality. Nor does this progressive utopian dream correspond with real historical accounts of government excesses and absurdities piled up over the ages. Welcome to the magical world of progressivism where government is the perfect god: omniscient, omnipresent, possessing supernatural powers and abilities, benevolently loving us, and providing all of our needs. Sounds like religion. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it operates as religion in the daily lives and world-view of the faithful.
But as Mick Jagger so famously sang, “You can’t always get what you want.” Not to be unsympathetic or to trivialize the suffering of those in the area hit by Sandy, but even the storm’s name seems suggestive of the futility of government as god. Maybe the very name was ordained by God to get the attention of the overwhelmingly progressive population of the Northeast, warning them that they have foolishly built their houses and lives on the “sandy,” or unstable, foundation of government. Many in this area, and even areas throughout our land in this secular age, might claim that they are not so bad, “getting their religion” in church services on Easter and Christmas, and “worshiping God just fine” while reclining in their Lazy Boy on Sunday watching NFL football or while sitting on a creek bank impaling worms on a fish-hook, soaking in the glorious grandeur of God’s creation. Maybe they do have a sense of God’s presence in those times as they are alone or as they commune with Nature, although I'm willing to bet that they still don't communicate with Him in those times. In English literature, romantic writers such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, or our Americanized transcendentalists, wrote volumes of poems and essays about their spiritual experiences in Nature. But being more superstitious than religious, the romantics too easily attributed the power and refreshing they felt to something supernatural that they claimed was inherent in nature. This worsip of creation rather than the Creator, I believe, is what Romans 1:25 is referring to. It should come as no surprise that nature radiates evidence for its Creator in its beauty, complexity, and amazingly multitudinous variety. But some people just don’t ever get the message. This is the mystery of human will. You might call it willful ignorance, but some people never listen to God's many messages to them over a lifetime and just choose bad over good regardless of the circumstances they encounter. And many in this group develop bad habits until they have forced themselves into a one-way road with no exits. Call it selfishness. Call it sin. Call it whatever you like. But it is absurd in the short-term situations, and even crazier in the long-term. And the end of it is never pretty.