As our regular readers know, the summer issue of Providence has recently begun to circulate. This latest issue, our fourth, continues our mission to bring the Christian intellectual history to bear on matters of foreign relations, national security, war, ethics, political philosophy, and the like. Present at its birth, Providence attracted me through its commitment to push back against various inclinations in the West, including and especially theChristian West, toward pacifism, neo-isolationism, cynical realism, and indiscriminate, knee-jerk anti-Israelism.
Providence positions itself in the Augustinian camp of the Christian realist tradition. As such, it is grounded in the basic assumption that a Christian political ethic is necessarily an ethic of responsibility. We take for granted that those who love God are bound to love what He loves. So we love the world, if for no other reason, because history proves that He loves the world. To love something means you desire to see it flourish. However, if nothing else does, 20th century history informs us that things in this world do not tend to flourish on their own. They often have to be helped to. So human beings who love the world that God loves have been called by Him to share in His providence—called to mirror His protective care in and for the world. This is what I take to be the core of that declaration in Genesis in which God proclaims, “Let us make mankind in our image.” The most basic interpretation of this is found by what immediately follows: “Let us make mankind in our image and let him have dominion over all the fish of the sea, the bids of the sky…and over all the earth.” We are made to exercise dominion—care—over all creation. It is a delegated responsibility in history for the conditions of history.
Of course, this is not to be taken to mean that history finally depends on us. Our responsibility is neither final nor ultimate but rather something more modest…
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