What Tennessee’s Governor Can Learn from What New Mexico’s Governor Got Right

Sep 14, 2023 by David Fowler

What Tennessee’s Governor Can Learn from What New Mexico’s Governor Got Right
New Mexico’s governor issued an executive order last week that “suspended” the Second Amendment. The focus has been on the Constitution and the lawfulness of her actions. But we can’t overlook what she said about the reason for her order, which was spot on. Lest Tennessee take a similar, but more restrained approach, it is important that we, including our governor and legislature, appreciate what she got right. And what she got wrong.
According to a Fox News report, the governor’s order “applies to open and concealed carry in most public place.” But what I urge us to consider is why the governor issued the order. It’s the one thing she got right:
When New Mexicans are afraid to be in crowds, to take their kids to school, to leave a baseball game — when their very right to exist is threatened by the prospect of violence at every turn — something is very wrong. (emphasis supplied)
Indeed, something is very wrong, but what? Until we diagnose the problem correctly, we will not get the answer needed to right the wrong.
The Role of Myth in Getting at What’s Wrong and Righting It
This may seem like a strange place to begin because moderns think of myths as mere fables, stories that aren’t true but made up. But when we think that way about myths (as has been true of me), we demonstrate that we don’t understand the value or purpose of a myth.
We all live according to some myth, what the enlightened now hide from themselves under the word, “metanarrative,” and they deny there is any metanarrative, which, of course, is their metanarrative. But to live without any mythos or metanarrative is to live in a chaos in which nothing hangs together and makes sense.
I’ll let C.S. Lewis explain the value of a myth, and then apply it to what the governor said:
The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity.’ The child enjoys his cold meat, otherwise dull to him, by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savory for having been dipped in a story…by putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, we do not retreat from reality: we rediscover it.[1] 

The Myth We Believe Today

The thing today that takes in all the things we know and puts them together—the mythos—is evolution. Before you call me a flat-earther, let me explain.
Evolution is simply the modernists’ word for a view of the world that has been around a long time. It is the myth that says everything is a product of development or change.
This myth is opposed to the only other view of the world,[2] creation out of nothing by a Triune God.[3] 
That these two myths are at fundamental odds with each other explains why some scientists must find an origin story from which development can develop without it looking like magic—there was nothing and, poof, there was something. That’s good magic, but not good logic or philosophy.
Philosophers who deny the existence of the Triune God, including the philosopher-scientist, have convinced us that evolution as so defined is true. In this myth, either empirical science takes the place of the Triune God or each of us or some of us do. (That’s also why scientists try to force their myth/metanarrative on us because it gives them power!)
These philosophers hope we will not ask the questions they cannot answer by empirical science. Then their game (and power over us) will be up; empirical science cannot give you or the world any values, meaning, or purpose—the things they don’t want you to think about—but we can’t live well without those things being true.
The Alternative Myth
The only alternative to the evolutionary myth is that God created all things out of nothing, by fiat. In our material, scientific age this sounds like a myth in the bad sense of the word—a made up story that isn’t true. No enlightened person could believe this, except smart guys learned in literature, like C.S. Lewis who said, “the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened.” 
The Problem According to the Modernist’s Myth
A brief explanation of why Christ is the true myth will follow, but modernists, by the nature of the solution they offer, seem to think that guns are what went wrong and if we can keep guns away from ourselves the wrong will be made right.
I hope I’m not the only one that thinks that sounds foolish. Guns, per se, can’t go wrong except to backfire or jam. The shooter is what has gone wrong. The problem is with us.
The Problem According to the Alternative Myth
Because we no longer believe in a metaphysics of good and evil, sin and righteousness, at least until someone breaks in line in front of us at the grocery, we can’t believe what the Bible says the problem is, namely, sin—a violation of God’s immutable law or, you can call it a falling short of His glory by those who were intended to bear in creaturely form the glory of His image.
But it is not just that we sin—we all do things we know are wrong—but that sin has a “dominion” (Romans 6:14). God has “confined” “or “committed” all persons “to sin,” meaning we are under sin’s dominion and, but for God’s restraining mercy, we would all go from bad to worse with ease (Galatians 3:22, Romans 6:19, 11:32).
That is horrible news, and makes God look like an ogre. It makes human tyranny by big government not sound so bad.
And what Lewis and I call the true myth, tells us that lawlessness of sin ends in death (see Albuquerque and Covenant School shootings).
I don’t recall any preacher I’ve known putting things that bluntly (and maybe I just could not hear it at the time), but there it is. I didn’t write it; I just put the pieces together in a succinct fashion, so the problem is not obscured.
Now let’s turn to the solutions to the wrongs offered by the two myths.
Why the False Myth Necessarily Give Us No True Solution—True Hopelessness.
The false myth—all is matter and all is change—has no solution, because, by definition, everything is changing.
In other words, today’s answer—you can’t carry guns—cannot, as a matter of pure logic, address any problem for very long. When today’s lawlessness produces more and greater lawlessness, and it will if the Bible’s myth is the true one, the next solution will almost have to be you can’t have any guns.
Escape from the False Myth and Solution to the True Myth’s Problem
The true myth isn’t liked by non-Christians (and many self-identifying Christians) because it kills self-esteem—we are the problem because sin in us is the problem. And when sin is couched as having dominion over us, that makes the situation sound hopeless.
If that is how you see it, then you are ready for some great news. There is a solution to escaping both the false myth and the problem presented by the true myth.
C.S. Lewis already said it: Christ. But how?
How the Truth Myth’s Solution Solves the True Problem AND that Expressed by NM’s Governor?
The Second Person of the Triune God (sounds like a false myth, huh?) assumed a human nature without ceasing to be God (sounds like a false myth, huh?) and entered into that dominion of sin to which all humans were confined and that consigned us to death (eternal life sounds like a false myth, right, because bodies “naturally” wear out?). This person’s name was Jesus, the Christ or Messiah.
However, if this myth is true, there is now a mediator between God and mankind!
Having a mediator sounds great, except the flesh that clothed Jesus’ human nature died (not God, who can’t die). So, what gives with Jesus dying then? How does that help us?
The true myth says He died because God, as Father, and with agreement of the Son, put the curse of sin with its dominion on the person He would create, Jesus, to which the Son would be conjoined.
That’s why he died—He chose to take on sin’s curse—and that’s what brings death to all of us, not because our bodies were created such that they must wear out and die.
So, logically speaking, Jesus’s death broke sin’s dominion over him. It could not have dominion, because He was dead.
But it still left Jesus dead. So how does that help anyone, right?
Here’s the great news: the true myth also says that the person of Jesus, the human creature, was raised from the dead. Because he personally had not sinned, God had to raise Jesus from the dead or an injustice would have been done to Him personally.
Yet, all that being done to Jesus still doesn’t make any sense until you understand that the true myth says those who believe it are joined to the resurrected Jesus, not in a magical way, but in a mysterious way, by the Holy Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 1:30).
In that joinder, sin no longer has “dominion over us because it no longer has dominion over Him to whom we are joined!”
Now, we are “under grace” (Romans 6:14), and we can live without the fear of death that accompanies the dominion of sin. God’s grace ensures a resurrected and new, permanently glorious body.
Under the true myth, the fear of death that the New Mexico governor mentioned is “swallowed up by [Jesus’s] victory” (Isaiah 25:8, 1 Corinthians 15:54). Problem solved!
It is when death comes that it should be evident to others that the way in which Christians grieve is not the same “as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
My Message to Two Governors
Bottom line, all of us are going to live by one of these two myths or metanarratives. The evolutionary one is magical in its beginning and presents no ground for thinking that evil can be mitigated; it just evolves. The alternative is mysterious, but it logically coheres from its beginning to its end. And it is full of hope.
Both myths may cause us to believe we need new laws to help us communicate better within government agencies and between health care providers and law enforcement about people who may be headed toward group murders. Both may lead us to believe that security needs to be increased in certain venues.
But I would say to the governors of New Mexico and Tennessee that what has “gone wrong” is that we have believed the false myth and, therefore, we believe that guns are what is wrong, and we can fix the problem—the fear of death—by controlling guns.
I pray our governor and some of our legislators, as professing Christians, and maybe even a few Christian pastors, will provide some leadership in the direction of and in accord with the true myth.
[1] C.S. Lewis, On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature
[2] For more on these two choices, see Herman Bavinck, “Creation or Development.”
[3] I exclude pantheistic religions because they, too, are fundamentally based on development and change and Islam and Judaism because the God they posit, is pure singularity, meaning God in His being is only personal and communicative in an abstract way, as a matter of fiat, meaning God’s is communicative simply because we say He is.

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