The Bible and the Nations
[Part 2 is at: "v15n3p13.htm"]
The words nation or nations are frequently found in the Bible, both in the New and the Old Testaments. This fact is ignored in most commentaries. The subject of the Biblical theology of the nations is almost totally absent from currently available systematic theologies. Very often, as we shall see, the Greek or Hebrew word for nation is mistranslated by the substitution of the very inadequate terms of Gentiles or Heathen, without any reference to the fact that the true meaning implies the concept of nation. This is essentially due to a peculiar trait of much Christian thinking which tends to ignore social realities in any reflection on God's creational order.
Now, when we look carefully at the Biblical usage of the Hebrew and Greek words for nation, goy or goyim and ethnos, we are struck by the very particular verbal associations of these terms. Let us take a number of examples which will illustrate what we mean.
In the famous last words of our Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples, commonly known as the Great Commission, we read, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)This text is indeed curious. The word nations, "teach all the nations", "baptizing them" (the nations), "teaching them" (again, the nations), sounds very strange to our ears, placed as it is in the context of world evangelization. Why nations and not the elect or sinners, or believers or even mankind? What does the use of the word nation mean in such a context? Does the social entity nation have a kind of collective person- ality that can be taught and baptized?
Let us look at another example taken again from the New Testament. In the apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians we read that "they which are of the faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen (the Greek has here ethnos, the nations) through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed." (Galatians 3:8) Our text tells us that in Abraham all the nations shall be blessed. Why do we again find the expression all nations, and not all the elect or all those destined to be saved? What does this notion of nation mean? What is the purpose of this bizarre nationalist vocabulary in speaking of the spread of the Gospel?
Paul shows in the conclusion to his letter to the Christians in Rome that this manner of speaking was quite usual for him:
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, hut now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever Amen. (Romans 16:25-26)Again, why should the Gospel of Jesus Christ be made known to all nations and not to all men or to all the elect or to all men destined to be redeemed by the blood of Christ?
Let us take another text where Paul quotes a number of passages from the Old Testament which all have the same national preoccupation:
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles (the Greek here has ethnos, the nations) might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, for this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles (nations), and sing unto thy name (Psalm 18:50). And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles (nations), with his people (Deut. 32:43). And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles (nations); and laud him, all ye people (Psalm 117:1). And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles (nations); in him shall the Gentiles (nations) trust (Isaiah 11:10). (Romans 15:8-12)In every instance where the translation given is Gentiles (or heathen) in the Authorized Version (and other translations such as the New International Version), the word found in the Greek is ethnos (nation), and in the original Hebrew it is Goyim, an expression signifying also simply nations. A careful study shows that there is no exception to this phenomenon. The word translated heathen or Gentiles is always either goyim or ethnos without exception. Both ethnos and Goyim should normally be properly translated either by the word nations or by the expressions Gentile nations or heathen nations and not simply by Gentiles or heathen, terms which have nothing of the institutional content of the Hebrew or Greek expressions.
Let us look at another example, taken this time from the book of Acts. In the tenth chapter we find the account of the first introduction of the Gospel to the Gentile nations. Through the vision of the napkin containing all sorts of animals, pure and impure, and God's peremptory order to "kill and eat," Peter came to understand that before God, because of the purification accomplished at the cross, the formerly valid distinction between the Jewish nation and the Gentile nations had been done away with. He was thus not to consider as impure those whom God had declared pure through the finished sacrifice of Christ. Now this passage is of great interest to us in that we see the Greek term ethnos used quite indiscriminately for the Jewish nation as well as for the Gentile nations, its fundamental meaning being clearly that of nation. Of the Roman officer, Cornelius, it is said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews... "(Acts 10:22). Further Peter says to his Gentile visitors inviting him into Cornelius' home: "Ye know how it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation: but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean" (Acts 10:28). Peter confirms this a few verses further on when he says: "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation (Jewish or Gentile) he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him" (Acts 10:34-85).
But this undifferentiated usage of the expression nation for both Jews and Gentiles is by no means found exclusively in the New Testament. The Old Testament teaching is also perfectly clear In the fourth chapter of the hook of Deuteronomy we read the following exhortation addressed by Moses to the Jewish nation:
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is, in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that bath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day. (Deut. 4:5-8)It is quite clear from this passage (and many similar texts could be quoted) that the word gayim, nations is not in any way in the Old Testament exclusively applied to the heathen nations. It is used by Moses himself when he speaks of Israel.
Some commentators and theologians affirm that the word nation (goy) is used for the Gentile nations, whilst the term people (am) is used to designate the Jewish people, the pagan nations being thus systematically opposed by Biblical usage itself to the Jewish covenant people. Closer examination of the Hebrew vocabulary of the Old Testament, however, proves this interpretation to be an exegetical myth. To take but one example, staying in the book of Deuteronomy, let us examine a brief passage from the seventh chapter. Speaking to the people of Israel of the danger of spiritual compromise with the heathen nations surrounding them Moses says:
For thou art a holy people ('am) unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God bath chosen thee to be a special people ('am) unto himself; above all people ('am) that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people ('am); for ye were the fewest of all people ('am). (Deut. 7:6-7)This passage makes it abundantly clear that the Hebrew usage of the Bible knows nothing of a semantic distinction - not to speak of an opposition - between Israel as a nation or people and the other Gentile nations and peoples created by God. The words nation and people are even on occasion used as synonyms in Scripture, as is done in this passage from the book of Isaiah: "Let all the nations (goyjin) be gathered together, and let the people ('am) be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things?" (Isaiah 43:9)
This Old Testament usage is again dearly confirmed by the New Testament. At the end of Luke's Gospel Jesus exhorts his disciples "that repentance and remission of sins be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 25:46-47). This, to take the plain grammatical sense, means that Israel (i.e. Jerusalem) is the first nation, of all the nations of the world, to hear the preaching of the Gospel of repentance and of remission of sins in Jesus Christ. This fact is made abundantly clear from the account of the bringing of the Gospel to the Gentile nations which we find in the book of Acts. In the faithful remnant oft be Jewish nation, those who recognized in Jesus Christ the Messiah of Israel, were perfectly accomplished the Biblical promises that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through the seed of Abraham. For as Scripture makes so abundantly clear, "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). Thus Scripture does not radically (and racially) distinguish Israel from the other nations as Rabbinic Judaism has always (and erroneously) done, and that from before the time of Christ to the present day.1
Another text from Luke's Gospel helps us to draw out the eschatological implications of this fact. In his discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and on the end of the world, Jesus affirmed that the inhabitants of Judea
shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down ofthe Gentiles (ethnos, nations), until the time of the Gentiles (ethnos, nations) be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:24-27)This passage makes clear that the fulfillment of "the time of the nations" (Gentiles is here a perfectly arbitrary theological interpretation totally uncalled for by the text) coincides with the end of the world, the coming of the Son of man, the coming in judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ "in a cloud with power and great glory." The times of the nations (not the Gentiles) is the time of all the nations, Israel included....This is confirmed by the words of the Lord himself in the parallel passage in Matthew: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all the nations (including the Jewish nation) and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14). Here "all the nations" according to the common Biblical usage we have described indeed means all the nations including the Jewish nation.
This reading of the Scriptures is again abundantly confirmed by Matthew's account of the final judgment. In Matthew 25 we read the following passages which show the central role played by the nations as such in the general judgment:
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. (Matthew 25:31-32; see also verses 32-34; 41, 46)At the final judgment all nations shall be gathered before the judgment throne of God. All nations includes also Israel. The text clearly teaches that the general judgment will be made nation by nation. Mankind will not be judged as an indiscriminate mass but each nation will stand as under its national banner and the separation between the sheep and the goats will take place within each nation distinctly. From each nation will be extracted, on the one hand, the elect and, on the other, the damned. Saved and damned individuals are gathered together as distinct nations. The final judgment will indeed be that of each separate individual but this judgment will he effected within the specific framework of every particular nation.
The Bible clearly knows nothing of the modern (and ancient) idea of a universal society made up of atomistic individuals organically unrelated to one another and constituting an undifferentiated and anarchic international community. Such political nominalism2 is not to be found in Scripture or in the apostolic tradition of the historical churches, but in the social contract tradition developed by the thinking of Marsilius of Padna, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill and Hans Kelsen, a tradition which culminates in the social liberalism dominant everywhere today.
What, then, is the Biblical theology of the nations?
The disappearance of nations would impoverish us no less than if all people were made alike, with one character, one face. Nations are the wealth of mankind, they are its generalized personalities; the smallest of them has its own particular colours, and embodies a particular facet of God's design.3In Psalm 86:8-10 we read: "Among the gods there is none like unto thee, 0 Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thon hast made shall come and worship before thee, 0 Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone." Thus Scripture declares forcefully that the nations are not arbitrary human institutions set up by the fantasies of the changing will of men, but that they are part of God's creational and redemptional order like the family and the Church. We find a very similar affirmation in Psalm 22:27: "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds (or families) of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is governor among the nations." Thus we see that God is the Creator of the nations, of the clans and of the families (kindreds) of which mankind is made up. Mankind is not thus just a huge amorphous mass of atomistic individuals arbitrarily juxtaposed one next to another, but it is ordered of God into nations, clans and families.
This doctrine is firmly established by a vitally important text of the New Testament, Paul's famous speech to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers of Athens on Mars Hill:
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us, for in him we live, and move, and have our being." (Acts 17:24-28)This teaching is but an echo of what we commonly find in the Old Testament. In the book of Deuteronomy we read: "When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam; he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel" (Deut. 32:8). In the book of Job we read of God's almighty power over his creation: `He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again" (Job 12:23). And the whole book of the prophet Daniel expresses this truth very plainly.
Let us examine some of the lessons the above text from the book of Acts affords us.
1.God has made the whole universe.
2. In the context of the created universe God has also created nations, a great diversity of nations. This diversity reflects the diversity of the Trinity, One God, three Persons.
3.These nations all have a common origin. All the nations the world has known and will ever know take their origin from one blood, from a single man, Adam, from a single family, that of Noah. This fact of the unity of the human race is confirmed by all that modern medical science has taught us of human physiology and of physical anthropology. Within the human species there is a basic unity. In this reality of the common bond of the human race we see a reflection in God's creation of the fundamental unity of the Triune Creator: three Persons, Father Sort, and Holy Spirit, but one God.
4. More than this. Just as God sustains our very life moment by moment - in him we live, and move and have our being - and sustains all men and every society constantly by his over-arching Providence - he giveth to all life and breath and all things - in the same way God directs in a concrete and comprehensive way the birth, life and death of all nations. God establishes and constantly governs the two dimensions - space and time - in which all nations exist. It is God, through his almighty Providence directing every aspect of human and cosmic history, who determines for all nations the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation.
What this means is that the geographic and historical boundaries of all nations are established, not by men and the apparently arbitrary vagaries of human history, but by God's sovereign decree. Thus God decides on the rise, the decline and the disappearance of nations. It is the Almighty who establishes for each nation its frontiers and the variations of its territory. Hence the existence and the very boundaries of a particular nation have an almost sacred character in the sight of their Creator Their modification is ultimately an act of God. Through the actions of men held by God entirely accountable for all their deeds, these boundaries will in time inevitably change. Particular nations may disappear and others emerge but, in the final account, it is God himself who decides the times appointed for each nation and the bounds of their habitation. Thus, like the family, the nation is an institution established by God. Calvin had a remarkable understanding of such a Providential vision of history. In his commentary on this passage in Acts, we read:
But there is no doubt that Paul first of all showed that men are placed here, as in a theatre, to be spectators of the works of God, that he then spoke about the providence of God, that reveals itself in the whole government of the world. For when he says that God 'determines their previously appointed seasons and the bounds of their habita- tion,' he means that this world is ruled by His hand and purpose, and, on the other hand, that human affairs are not turned by chance, as profane men fondly suppose.... We now see that just as there are in a camp, separate lines for each platoon and section, so men are placed on the earth, so that each nation may be content with its own boundaries, and that each man may live in his own dwelling-house among his own people. Finally, although ambi- tion has been repeatedly rampant, and many, burning with a depraved greed, have crossed over their own boundaries, yet the willfulness of men has never had the effect that God did not direct all events from his secret sanctuary. For even if by raising a tumult on the earth men seem to be attacking heaven, in order to overthrow the providence of God, yet they are being forced, whether they like it or not, rather to establish it. Therefore let us realize that the world is turned through different cycles of upheavals, so that God may at last restore everything to the purpose He has appointed.4The origin of the nations is already to be found in the Biblical narrative of the creation of Adam and Eve and, through them, of all mankind. It is to be found in the very first chapter of the Bible:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and overall the earth, and over every creeping thing upon the earth.God thus gave man dominion over the whole earth to subdue and cultivate it. In order to attain this purpose of civilizing the whole earth God ordered mankind to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish (i.e. fill) the earth with the purpose of subduing it as the Creator's vice regent, his royal administrator, his steward. Now the domination of the whole earth implicitly contained the establishment of families, of clans and, finally, of nations. For men are by nature finite (not omnipresent) and are created as social beings (not anarchic atoms). It is impossible in combining these two elements of dominion and occupation to avoid the establishment of local and limited communities which, in the long run, could only develop into families, clans and nations. Faithful obedience to God's command to fill the whole earth and to subdue it leads inevitably to the constitution of peoples and nations, and this even without the existence of that supplementary element, provided later (at Babel), of the diversity of languages.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea. and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
We thus find this fundamental order given at creation repeated after the flood in almost the same terms as in Genesis 1. After the flood we read, "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Genesis 9:1). In the compliance with this divine commandment lies the origin of the nations described in chapter 10 of the book of Genesis.' Thus the divinely ordered cultivation of the unsubdued earth and its colonization into various nations dates from the time when Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth left the ark with their respective families and began to spread out in different directions from the region of Mount Ararat. The human domination over God's creation, domination in conformity to God's beneficial commandments, is a God imposed duty. Mankind's spreading out in all directions led to the development of the diverse families and clans that were to lead the various nations described in Genesis 10, and this even before the temporary reversal of the centralizing trend marked by the building of the Tower of Babel.
The table of the nations included in the tenth chapter of Genesis shows clearly what elements are included in the constitution of nations by God through the working of human action in space (geography) and time (history). In verse five we read: "By these (the sons of Japheth) were the isles of the Gentiles (nations) divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations" (Genesis 10:5). This same declaration is almost exactly repeated in verse 20: "These were the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations" (Genesis 10:20). Looking ahead, it is of the greatest interest to find that an almost identical description of the elements necessary for the constitution of a nation is to be found in the book of Revelation. There we read: "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof': for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred (family), and tongue, and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9). And again: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (Revelation 7:9). But more of this later! Chapter 10 of Genesis concludes thus: "These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood" (Genesis 10:32).
These brief texts bring together all the elements which are used by God in varying proportions for the constitution of nations in space and time. We can here discern four explicit elements as well as a fifth factor less explicitly mentioned but which is the cement holding together a nation. These are the five essential factors involved in the constitution of nations: lands: the geographical elements; tongues: the linguistic element (this element came into play only after the construction of the tower of Babel); families: the racial, hereditary or atavistic element; nations: the political element; and finally, that element which provided the indispensable social cement without which no nation can subsist, the generations mentioned in verse 32. The latter represents that rallying point, that common ancestor of every nation, that figure (real or mythical) with whom each family, clan or nation can identify itself and in whom they all find the historical foundation for their collective loyalty and unity. This becomes quite clear when we examine the way different types of terms are intermingled in this list of the seventy original nations of which mankind was originally constituted. What we see is that with the names of common ancestors, who became the founding fathers of the different nations, are mingled those of families, clans, peoples and finally nations. It is also clear that the constitution of the nations began, as verse 32 shows, with the families of Noah. It was only with the development of time that these families and clans became fully fledged nations.
Now we know from history that it is not necessary for all the elements latent in Genesis 10 to be present together for the constitution of a nation. The only absolutely indispensable element here is that of common bond personified in the figure of a common ancestor. This is what often makes the definition of what constitutes a nation so difficult.
Some nations exist without a geographic base, as the Jewish people have done for countless generations. Others have the same language and origin but no political unity, as do most of the English-speaking nations, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, or the Spanish-speaking nations of South America and Spain itself. Others exist spread out over different political nations, as do the Basques, the Armenians, the Kurds or the Palestinians as well as many African nations arbitrarily divided in the nineteenth century by the geographic colonial ambitions of the European Empires. Other nations, like the United States or South Africa, have no common racial heritage.
A state like Switzerland, for example, can constitute a solid political community without a common language, with a dislocated geography opening it up to every point of the compass, with no unity of religion, with a great diversity of political loyalties (a confederation of 23 independent nations!) but with a political unity and, above all, a very strong common loyalty which has endured for over 700 years. The bond of unity lay essentially in the common interest. ... The spirit of the nation has been throughout its history that of medieval Christendom, one of unity and diversity, unity of Faith, diversity of nations, customs and languages. ... But... if the spiritual and historical texture of the country gradually deteriorates due to historical amnesia and national apostasy - as is the case today - then very strong disruptive elements can rapidly come into play with catastrophic results. The present precarious situation of Switzerland shows, as always, that it is not possible for long to go against the clear affirmations of Scripture without paying the dire price for every breach of God's covenant:
The heathen (nations!) are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands... The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for even Arise, o Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen (nations!) be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, 0 Lord: that tile nations may know themselves to be but men. Psalm 9:15-17.The recently deceased Yugoslav Federation presents a very different picture. This relatively recent federation of nations was arbitrarily created by the Treaty of Versailles signed by the victorious powers at the end of the first World War over the dead body of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. ... It is dear that when men meddle in the constitution or in the dissolution of nations, for ideological reasons (as was the case in 1919 and also during the past three years), or simply out of misplaced ambition, they usurp God's role and produce untold havoc.... The result of foolish human geopolitical manipulation and nationalistic idolatry is measured in untold human suffering.
But is this not indeed what the Bible tells us to expect in a radically fallen world? "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these things are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:6-8).
For nations can fall into two complementary and equally dangerous evils: idolatrous nationalism, and equally idolatrous internationalism. The idolatry of the nation lends to a desire to dominate and to crush other nations. Imperial international domination is universally condemned by Scripture where it is symbolized by the beast of the books of Daniel and of Revelation. This national (or international) imperialism is a frequent feature in human history. French revolutionary nationalism nourished the imperial ambitions of Napoleon. The fanatic nationalism of Nazi Germany nourished Hitler's dreams of a Third Reich, a millennial empire. Russian panslavic mystical nationalism nourished the insane ambitions of world domination of Soviet communism. British jingo nationalism played an important role in the constitution of the British Empire. International utopianism and rabid humanitarianism are the fires warming the totally unrealistic ambitions of those working towards a so-called New World Order
Both internationalism - the contempt for the very idea of the nation - and nationalism - the contempt for all nations except one's own - are equally idolatrous, equally in opposition to the divinely established international ordering of human society made up of a great variety of autonomous nations. And just as all efforts to destroy the Church are, in the long run, doomed to fail, just as all ambitions to disintegrate the God ordained family are bound never to be finally successful; in the same way all attempts to get rid of the historical and geographical reality of the nations will fail. For all such projects destructive of God's creational order find themselves face to face with the irresistible might of the Creator and Sustainer of the Church, the family and the nations. These three basic institutions - the family, the Church and the nation - are the Biblical, inescapable and indestructible elements of God's creational order which knows nothing of our impotent international anarchy or of our brutal nationalistic individualism.
1 A notable Evangelical exception to this general error is to be found
in the excellent
Theotrigicot Wirdtioot if the Old Te'stoirii,nt, edited by H. Laird Harris, Gleason L.
Arcber and Bruce K. WaltIe, Moody Press, Chicagri. 1980, 2 vols. See the excellent
articles on tbe wirds: Nation (Goy - Goyirn;, vol.1, pp- 153-154, and People (`am i, Vol.
II, pp. 675-676.
2 In the nittoinalistic perspective the name notioji is hut a name, arbitrarily chosen and
imposed by men and having nil real relation ti, the created reality of the nations. See
Arnaud-Aaron Upiusky, Lo (etc criupet, lii lo parole eriopee, O.E.t.L. 27, roe de l'Abbe
Gregoire, 75006 Paris 1991,.
3 Alexander Solzhenitsyn One Word of Truth, London 1971 pp 15-16. See also in
Alexander Solzheort~yn. ed., From Under the Rubble London lootana, 1976 tin USA:
Bosti,n: Little Ilniwn and Co, 1975; in Canada: Toronto I ittle Brown & Co.Ltd.i: A.
Solzheoit~yn Ri pi ritorii'e ood Set/~Liin ration iii it, I iii "I Nations and Vadi io Boris-
sov, Human Per~rioatitv ond A'atii,rtn/ Ciinsciiiasries.~ Of the same quality of historical
and sockil pelceptiun ~re the cultural md political writings of the British-American
poet, T. S Eliot
4 John Calvin The Acts of the Apostles Vol II Co/i if, New lestotoent Co,,, ,iic,titari,,s
win. B. l'erdm ~ns (`rind Rapids Ml 1984~197l, pp. 117-118.
5 On this whole question see the remarkable studies of Arthur C. Custance, Nnali\ TA ret'
Suits, Zindeisan tic md R ipids MI 197) and Gi nes-is arid Forty Mo,i, Zonder-van,
Grand Rapids MI 19i8
Of the many comment-iries on the book of (jenesis see in particular: Gordon A.
\&enhtirn Gi `ii si S 1 15 Word Bib/i' 0/ C ion,,,' otan Vol. 1, wurd Books, Waco, TX 1987;
Janies M Boict G~ntsi~ Air Pxpo~itii'riar; Cirrirrieritory, Vol. 1, Zondervan1 Grand
Rapids, MI 1982 Ron rId I Viiungblood f/ic Rich of C't'ne.sis. on Introditeto1)- Ciun-
mentary, Baker, (`rand Rapids, Ml 1991, Henry M. Morris, The Gerie-sis Reerird,
Creation-Life Publishers, San Diego, CA 1976.