Tim Keller Channels George Orwell

“To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, part 1, chapter 3, pp 32

“I think Genesis 1 has the earmarks of poetry and is therefore a “song” about the wonder and meaning of God’s creation. Genesis 2 is an account of how it happened… For the record I think God guided some kind of process of natural selection, and yet I reject the concept of evolution as All-encompassing Theory.”

Tim Keller
The Reason for God — pp 97-98

Keller refuses to accept either 6 day creationism, nor full blown evolution. Keller is also on record as saying, “You’ve got some problems with the theistic evolution….” As a result Keller goes for the “messy approach” that seeks to combine all of them and none of them. Of course the “messy approach” means that Keller has just embraced contradiction. In point of fact, Keller has exceeded Orwell’s “double-think,” moving on to the hallowed ground of “triple-think.”

Examining Keller’s quote above we easily detect Keller’s contradiction in terms of the most basic tenet of Reformed Christianity (Keller is a Presbyterian minister) and that is God’s exhaustive sovereignty. What Keller has posited here is that God and some other agency called “Natural selection,”  co-operated together unto the end of creation. Now, Keller does seem to give God the upper hand but notice that Keller’s God is merely guiding Natural selection. Where did this Natural selection that God is guiding come from?

Do keep in mind also that one of the core tenets of Natural selection is the arrival of species by a random process of time plus chance plus circumstance. The whole idea of Natural Selection is that it is not guided. Meanwhile the whole idea of a sovereign God is that He doesn’t cooperate in creation by guiding another independent agent called “Natural selection,” to a agreed upon end. When reduced to its essence, Keller has a Sovereign God guiding a process that is by definition a random process of chance. This is classic Orwellian double think taken up as Evangelical art form. In saying everything Keller has said nothing.

Keller does indeed reject Evolution as a all encompassing theory of origins but at the same time he has also rejected the Sovereign God of Reformed Christianity as a all encompassing theory of origins. The result is a mish mash of contradictions as combined with a miasma of pseudo-intellectualism.

Indeed so great is Keller’s faith in his “Natural selection guiding god” that Keller can testify with all the fervor of a true believer,

“How could there have been death before Adam and Eve fell? The answer is, I don’t know. But all I know is, didn’t animals eat bugs? Didn’t bugs eat plants? There must have been death. In other words, when you realize, ‘Oh wait, this is really complicated,’ then you realize, ‘I don’t have to figure this out before I figure out is Jesus Christ raised from the dead.’ ”

So, Keller can not have enough faith to believe the Scripture that death did not enter until after Adam’s fall but he does have enough faith in his “Natural selection guiding god” that (s)he could have it all figured out even if he can’t figure it all out. If one is going to have that kind of faith why not place it in the Biblical record?

Some, in speaking out Keller’s defense have noted that Keller often speaks differently in different contexts. I am not surprised by this in the least. In point of fact it is exactly what we would expect in someone practicing Orwellian double think. There is nothing intellectually sophisticated in any of this. It is all Orwellian double and triple think. In short we see Keller channeling Orwell,

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “Tim Keller Channels George Orwell”

  1. Two excellent posts today Pastor Bret. This one inspired the following:

    Natural selection
    God’s automatic writing
    His process of selection
    Ages of rewriting
    Tim’s single think rejection
    Hypnotically inviting

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