The promise of Revelation’s Babylonian prostitute is that human beings do not need the grace of God or faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to obtain salvation. For the prostitute and all those who follow her, salvation resides in man’s efforts, our ingenuity, our creativity and our skills and abilities. This line of thought insists that to depend on what we’ve never seen, to rely on some savior who lives way beyond the beyond is foolish, simpleminded, and weak. The harlot’s message is that we have it in ourselves to create the world that we desire. This message has been endorsed and promoted by many of the world’s greatest scientists, philosophers, scholars, and writers.
One of the greatest proponents of this view was the influential 19th century philosopher Frederick Nietzsche. Nietzsche was a pivotal figure whose writings have provided the foundation for many of our current postmodern ideas about the ability of humanity to save itself. He wrote powerfully and passionately about the importance of surpassing the restrictions of Christian beliefs that promote dependence on a savior. He insisted that such ideas as humility, morality, surrender and self-sacrifice, were detrimental to our ability to achieve our highest state. Indeed, for him the very idea of God as a supreme being restricts us from going beyond our God imposed limitations. He wrote about the coming of a “beyond man, a higher man” by which he means a state of being that is unlimited by anything external to man, such as God. So, he calls for the death of God so that humanity can reach that exalted state. A state that’s not limited by the existence of God. Consequently, to achieve our potential, we must kill God. He wrote, “only since he”, meaning God, “has lain in the grave, you (higher man) have arisen. Now only comes the great noon, now only higher man becomes master.” Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1899 edition p. 428
By contrast the biblical message is that faith in Christ is the only means by which we are restored into the image of God. All our efforts to lift ourselves up and become what Nietzsche refers to as the beyond man, the Superman, are doomed to failure. That is because we are limited by our sinful nature which is the root of all pride, selfishness, greed, and lust for power. Human history gives clear evidence of this truth.
Jesus declared, without me you can do nothing, but with me all things are possible. The Christian message is not one of limitation but of expansion. God’s intention for us is that we would transcend our present condition and be elevated beyond anything that we can currently conceive. However, we must first recognize the limitations imposed by sin, it must be dealt with and the Bible is clear that the only method of dealing with sin is to turn to the only one who has been victorious over sin and is willing to apply the benefits of his victory to us. To reach our exalted state, we must kill our sinful nature.
It is thoughtless and foolish to deny the reality of evil in this world. The history of our world provides ample evidence of its presence and effects. God’s word is the only plan for dealing with this terrible condition. Every other way promises to make sinful humans better sinful humans. Jesus promises, I am the only way out of this sinful condition to an existence unlimited, unrestricted, and everlasting.