Last week was the deadline for filing income taxes. Less than a week ago was the observation of Christ’s death and resurrection. We are expected to give unto Caesar, our human governments. By contrast, we are to surrender unto God, giving our all. Caesar is merely another man that is meant to provide a service to the citizenry. Whereas Christ is the foundation of our very lives. What happens when we allow the mortal Caesars to have control in the areas of the eternal Lord? Disappointment then tragedy comes.
People cause suffering, no more or less than the governing powers. For some reason many call these two, one in the same, to eventually fix the evils of the world. What is even more comical is now in our modern world we are surprised when Caesar is unable to prevent or immediately restore the aftermath of natural disasters. Why do we put so much hope in mortals simply because they have some kind of authority, either through position and/or wealth? If your hope to relieve the human condition lies in human beings, there was not much hope in the first place.
This is also tied into the evils rooted in the love of money. Politicians and rich men alike, what is the outward source of their meager power? Taxes and payments. Unless we give, they cannot act. They promise the goods/services of security and comfort. Sure, they are only human like the rest of us, though with all that money we give, only they can solve what ails us. In case you are wondering, yes, I mean halls of government and even business can share the power of Caesar, in times of peace or war.
“But, though the patriarchal system is the earliest form of government, and all governments have been developed or modified from it, the right of government to govern cannot be deduced from the right of the father to govern his children, for the parental right itself is not ultimate or complete. . . . Property, ownership, dominion rests on creation. The maker has the right to the thing made. He, so far as he is sole creator, is sole proprietor, and may do what he will with it. God is sovereign lord and proprietor of the universe because He is its sole creator. He hath the absolute dominion, because He is absolute maker. . . . The despot is a man attempting to be God upon earth, and to exercise a usurped power. Despotism is based on, the parental right, and the parental right is assumed to be absolute.”
from: chapter 3 of The American Republic by Orestes Brownson (1865)
Those who truly hold governance are people who create, as does our Lord. Because what we make with our hands/minds is from what God has made us, we are granted responsibility over a power, not endowed with it. Thus we can set it on the rule of Christ, being creation and children of His heavenly Father, or we may out of foolish desire for ultimate self rule, stake this power in ourselves, in the personal and/or formal halls of Caesar. Indeed, those who play God fail to create good things for the generations, demanding they be given wealth and honor due to their social-economic status.
Just to be clear, this is a warning against the depravity of the love of money, as well as power, whether it be through socialism or capitalism. These two joined are an unholy alliance, though this is for a future post. No matter how a man puts it, Caesar will receive tribute for the services that can be rendered – order and enforcement in this life. By one’s own life, via a politician, or a businessman, the parental figure of a group of people, will become a cruel master when pursuing the status of the Creator in life. Indeed, render unto Caesar a portion of your creativity. But be warned, surrender unto God your very life itself, for He is the holy master of all Caesars, whom will answer to Him in the end.
“The right of the father over his child is an imperfect right, for he is the generator, not the creator of his child. Generation is in the order of second causes, and is simply the development or explication of the race. The early Roman law, founded on the confusion of generation with creation, gave the father absolute authority over the child—the right of life and death, as over his servants or slaves; but this was restricted under the Empire, and in all Christian nations the authority of the father is treated, like all power, as a trust. . . . How, from the right of the father to govern his own child, born from his loins, conclude his right to govern one not his child? Or how, from my right to govern my child, conclude the right of society to found the state, institute government, and exercise political authority over its members?”
from: chapter 3 of the American Republic
1 Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. 2 Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority? Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, 4 for it is a servant of God for your good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword without purpose; it is the servant of God to inflict wrath on the evildoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to be subject not only because of the wrath but also because of conscience. 6 This is why you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Pay to all their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, toll to whom toll is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.7 So do not be associated with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, 9 for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”