What Man Hath Wrought

Ruins of the Roman Forum (Photo credit: Foeke Noppert)

Ruins of the Roman Forum (Photo credit: Foeke Noppert)

In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind. – Edmund Burke

George Santayana put it even simpler: “Those who can’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Today we watch as Western Civilization is collapsing, torn from within by competing ideologies and assailed from without by Islam, a bastard quasi-religious and murderous ideology authored by a 7th century charlatan and pedophile…because we have not learned the lessons history reveals. Even a cursory study reveals that this decline is just another in a long list of cycles in man’s behavior on earth.

Around the world, the story is always the same: men create beautiful art, music, architecture, cities and societies, then they gradually give way to the lowest common denominator, either the barbarians or the schemes and agenda of the non-warrior, the non-artist…the bureaucrats who assume control, who can’t create but can only talk and plan and organize and restrict, and who are so weak that any barbarian easily overwhelms and destroys them. Fore example, in the Middle East we’ve gone from the creation of the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, the development of algebra, etc., to ISIS and cries of “Allah Akhbar!” as humans are beheaded. In China we’ve gone from the building of the Great Wall, the only man-made object visible from space, to 50 million killed by Mao in the last century and the continuing Communist oppression of a billion people. In Europe we’ve gone from the architectural wonders of the Greeks and Romans to the graffiti-marred ruins and the helplessness of politicians in the face of a massive invasion of male Muslim immigrants.

Those who believe that we’ve evolved from lower life forms must explain why, then, does every great civilization always end up the same way: in decline, chaos, decay, crime and collapse. Should we not have learned from the mistakes of our predecessors?

That same pattern is evident in the world’s great religions. Judaism and Christianity were established based on God’s Word (Old Testament for the Jews, New Testament for the Christians), but they have both been co-opted and corrupted by men who have replaced God’s admonitions and wisdom with man’s philosophies and dreams of an earthly paradise created not by God, but by men. We should have learned from what man has done to those faiths, so we could avoid repeating that self-destruction of our nation. We didn’t.

Who knows why God created men, for in His omniscience He knew of their eventual unfaithfulness and betrayal. When He destroyed the earth with a flood, He saved Noah and his family because of Noah’s faithfulness, but the sons of Noah proved untrue, scheming to “reach the throne of God” in the building of the Tower at Babel. Confounding their language and scattering them across the face of the earth, God then chose for Himself a people, the Jews, a people whom He would bless and through whom the entire world would be blessed.

Woodrow Wilcox


But even Abraham, whom God promised would be the father of a great nation, disobeyed God (having a son by a handmaiden, not waiting for God to fulfill His promise). After expulsion from the Promised Land and centuries of slavery in Egypt, when God called the Jews out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land it is no surprise that they were unfaithful, griping and questioning His authority. Once entered into Canaan, they again disobeyed God by not driving out (or yes, killing) all its inhabitants, which resulted in the ongoing attempts by the Arabs to destroy Israel, continuing to this day.

God warned the nation of Israel early on what would happen if they were unfaithful, if they broke His covenant. But the Word of God given to Moses, the Torah, was gradually replaced by the Talmud, the rabbinical writings – that is, the wisdom of men – until the religion of Judaism was no longer the faith established by the patriarchs. In the 400 years between the writings of the last Hebrew Prophet and the birth of Christ, Judaism had become so corrupted with the philosophies of men (Sadducees, Pharisees, et al) that the Jews didn’t even recognize their own Messiah, and they killed Him. Finally, in 70 AD God allowed Jerusalem to be sacked and His people scattered abroad, fulfilling His warning. They’re still suffering from that betrayal today, awaiting the time when God, not men, will re-gather His people to Israel.



Christians learned nothing from the faithlessness of the Jews. God turned temporarily from Israel because of their rejection of His sovereignty, and He commissioned a Pharisee to take another gospel to the non-Jews of the world (the Gentiles). Just as Jesus had taught the Apostles for three years about the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, Paul was taught by revelation about this new gospel, based not on the Law but on Grace, salvation not acquired by works but by simple faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus at Calvary. But even in Paul’s own lifetime he had to chastise the churches he’d established for their rapid decline into Judaism and even pagan religions, replacing God’s Word with man’s thoughts, philosophies and superstitions. After Paul was put to death in Rome, a veil descended on the history of the Christian Church, and for almost 200 years little is known of the development of Christianity except in the writings of the early Church “fathers.” They melded their Greek philosophies into the gospel to the point that when we again encounter Christianity in history, it’s a religion unrecognizable from the faith Paul taught.

What emerged from those “silent years” was a Catholic Church that resembled ancient Judaism more than the Christianity taught by Paul. It was a religion created by men, requiring works and sacraments and rituals that obscured the simple message of grace that God gave to Paul. For example, the Catholic Church was supposedly led by Peter, but Scripture shows that Peter never went to Rome! No matter to men, because Peter had to be in Rome to support their erroneous interpretation of Jesus’ proclamation that “upon this rock I’ll build My Church,” (Matthew 16). Because Peter’s name Cephas means “rock,” it was wrongly interpreted that the Church was to be established on the leadership of Peter. But the “rock” Jesus referred to was Himself (i.e., Peter’s proclamation that Jesus was the son of God)! Even the Greek words for Cephas and the word for “rock” used by Jesus are different, but fact and truth are small obstacles to men determined to replace God’s rule with their own.

Such is always the case when man’s philosophies conflict with God’s Word: God is pushed aside and man ascends to prominence. So we have Peter as the first Pope, the counterfeit foundation of the Church, and all the subsequent popes with all their Papal Bulls and proclamations, but it’s all a myth created and instituted by men, replacing the words of Christ and the gospel given by God with men’s presumed wisdom. Even the Reformation that eventually spawned all the Protestant denominations accepted the clear errors at the foundation of the Church, and when Protestants broke away from the ritualistic Catholic Church, they made the same man-honoring errors, elevating men’s ideas and interpretations above God’s Word. The resulting scores of Protestant sects and denominations make it difficult for anyone of reasonable intelligence to take seriously a Christian faith that can’t seem to even agree on what it really stands for.

Americans, too, have failed to learn the lessons of history. The pattern is simple, be it religion, politics, economics or whatever: man’s pride requires that he replace original intent and foundation with his own ideas and agenda. At first, it’s only a “helpful re-interpretation” (like “the Constitution is a living document”), but always eventually becomes the predominant, acted-upon creed.

Today, while Western Europe is succumbing to the savage barbarism of Islam, here in the U.S. we, too, are seeing the destruction of what was the greatest earthly achievement by mankind in history. The solid foundations and structure of society that has enabled unparalleled social and political liberty for all people, economic prosperity and military strength are crumbling under the decades-long assault by men who, like Cain, want their own paradise on earth, a place created by men where they rule and don’t have to suffer God’s interference.

Thus every Founding principle has to be assailed and deconstructed, because those silly Founders had actually acknowledged God as the author of our freedoms! So they, the Founders, have to be removed from their pedestals and shown to have feet of clay (Jefferson had a slave child; Franklin was a randy old pervert; etc.). Their abundant writings, clear on every topic, have to be deconstructed to show their “real” meanings, usually racist, imperialist or some other vile motivation, so the Founders and their God can be tossed aside for the ideas of more “enlightened” men.

Never mind that this nation has long been that “city on a hill” to which Reagan referred, the place where people of all races, nationalities, creeds and beliefs can experience the rarest of all human treasures, freedom. People from all over the world haven’t for two centuries flocked to China, or Russia, or South Africa, or Argentina, et al. No, it’s to our shores they’ve come, knowing that just setting foot in America means a new life of freedom and opportunity.

Yet men who would be god have long been at work destroying that truth. Orwell wrote, “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” And that’s all man’s tortured fantasies about a heaven-on-earth are. . .lies, a dream of heaven created by men so we’d have no further need of God. It goes by many names – socialism, Communism, modern liberalism and now, Progressivism. G.K. Chesterton wrote that when men stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing. . . “they’ll believe in anything.” Indeed, and history shows us how that has turned out everywhere. Yet fallen men are nothing if not persistent, and are still seeking that earthly nirvana today, despite the evidence of its inevitable destruction of liberty and human dignity.

R.G. Collingwood, an English philosopher and teacher, wrote, “The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.” (italics mine) “What man is” is not a pretty picture. Our pride makes us our own worst enemy, determined to rule in God’s place, to create our own paradise on earth where we don’t have to pay homage to Him, and we’re determined to destroy anything that makes us beholden to Him.

Even if that means destroying this republic, the closest thing to paradise mankind has ever created on this earth. All just to get away from the God Who loves us, and Who even died for us so that we could one day experience true paradise. That is the simple truth behind the ongoing collapse of Western Civilization, and the rapid demise of this nation. It has been our actions (and inactions) that have destroyed America. History will continue, noting only with wonder how Americans in the late 20th and early 21st centuries traded heaven-on-earth for a hell of our own creation, simply in order to proclaim what most men have proclaimed throughout history, that “We don’t need God!”

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thessalonians 2:12

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

Comment Rules: Please confine comments to salient ones that add to the topic; Profanity is not allowed and will be deleted; Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will be deleted.

Formerly a liberal and an atheist, Paul E. Scates served as a Marine in Vietnam and is a lifelong student of American history, politics and culture. A former contributor to national website TooGoodReports.com, he writes his staunchly independent Conservative and informed Christian commentary for his fellow ordinary, working Americans, the “we, the people” who are ultimately responsible for preserving our Constitutional liberties.
Paul E. Scates
View all posts by Paul E. Scates
Pauls website

Comments are closed.