Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Julian Assange and the "Impossible Heresy"

As many of you have probably read by now (it's all over the Internet) Julan Assange has been arrested. He's not been arrested on espionage charges (though those are likely coming in the US at least), but rather because of a sexual assault. Nevertheless, it must be born in mind that this is not a sexual assault in the sense that we use the term in Britain or the US. Rather, under Swedish law the concept of sexual assault is very broad indeed. It can apparently mean in this context that the woman felt the experience of sex is not something she liked or wanted after the fact or in the midst of it (one woman is apparently complaining that he didn't wear a condom, though she agreed to have unprotected sex with him anyways. The other feels (although she cannot prove it) that he "sabotaged" his condom while having sex with her and there made it break). This apparently need not be verbalized. Neither must there be coercion involved.

This brings us to our point. I think this case illustrates what Gerhard Forde referred to as the "impossible heresy," that is, antinomianism. Julian Assange is a neo-anarchist believes that there is no objective morality. He apparently doesn't even really believe in the legitimacy of governmental power (though that logically follows, people are often not consistent about these things). But the law has come back to bite him whether he rejected it or not.

Here's how I see it. Back in the day, people believed sex outside of marriage was wrong. This would of course include rape, but a bunch of other things to. Then people decided that God's law didn't matter. The highest good was personal satisfaction and autonomy, so people should just be able to act on their impulses. The result? Because personal autonomy and personal satisfaction are the highest good, it becomes the new ideal and the new law. Hence, sexual behavior didn't now become free and unimpeded, rather it simply submitted to the new law. Hence, if Julian Assange doesn't wear a condom (which is actually what's he's being charged with) and it undermines the personal satisfaction and happiness of the woman involved (even though in this case, she apparently agree to engage in sexual intercourse with him anyways) then he's guilty against the law of personal fulfillment and satisfaction.

There is no escaping the law this side of death for the external person. Eliminate God's commandments, and you'll only make up new self-chosen works. These will inevitably accuse and threaten you as much as the real commandments. For the inner person, the only way the law can end is in Jesus and the freedom of the gospel he gives. Only then do we have the real freedom that does not involve rejecting the law, but its fulfillment on our behalf in Christ.