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27 September 2010 @ 10:03 pm
"This corn is well grown, and Carthage must be destroyed."  
The title of this post is drawn from a famous saying of the Roman soldier and statesman, Marcus Porcius Cato.  Cato the Elder had the reputation of always ending a speech with a call for the destruction of Carthage, even if the speech really had nothing to do with the war.  The reason was that Cato believed that the survival of the Republic depended on that city's destruction.

We know from archaeology that Carthage deserved to be utterly destroyed, just as the Canaanite cities did during Joshua's conquest of Palestine.  Though Cato had no divine command to burn Carthage and salt the ground afterward, I have no doubt that it was a just end for the city.  A cemetery has been uncovered in Carthage that contains the burned skeletons of thousands of babies.  Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. by Phoenician colonists from the city of Tyre (just north of biblical Israel).

Tyre was part of the same wicked, violent, and bloodthirsty culture as the Canaanite cities that God commanded be completely destroyed.  The Canaanite cities, along with Tyre, practiced the same sort of child sacrifice that the cemetery reveals was happening in Carthage.

The pagan worship of the Canaanites involved heating a bronze statue of their false god Molech with fire until the bronze glowed red.  Then a baby would be placed into Molech's hands and roll backward into the furnace.

Of course, infanticide wasn't a purely Carthaginian or Canaanite practice.  In ancient Rome, even though it eventually became illegal, the paterfamilias was traditionally allowed to choose whether or not a newborn child would be received into the family or left outside in the elements to die.  Pharoah ordered all male Israelite babies to be thrown in the Nile.  Herod slaughtered an entire village of Israelite babies in hopes of killing just one particular child.

In the United States and all of Europe babies are routinely murdered by their mothers before they are even born.

"This corn is well grown, and Carthage must be destroyed."

Yesterday I was reading the interesting book, A Landscape With Dragons by Michael O'Brien.  It is worth reading, even though it has many glaring defects.  One of O'Brien's most brilliant observations was that the dragon's attempt to kill the baby in Revelation 12 is emblematic of Satan's constant desire to murder children.

The thought that O'Brien's observation prompted in my mind was this:

Particularly in the ancient world, Satan did all that he could to murder as many babies as possible.  There are a lot of reasons that Satan would have wanted to do this.  The most important of these has to do with his desire to prevent the salvation of the world.  Satan knew that God had promised that his power would be destroyed when the seed of the woman crushed his head.  The more babies Satan killed, the better his chances of killing the Messiah.

But it goes further than that.  Satan still loves to stain his hands with the blood of children.  A culture that no longer values the lives of the most helpless will find it difficult to draw the lines anywhere at all.  Once infanticide is legalized, active euthanasia can be considered a legitimate medical treatment (as it is in Oregon, Washington, and Montana), hospitals can convene "futility committees" to decide whether to deny treatment to the old or infirm, and courts can order a woman to be starved to death because her husband wants to marry the woman he's been shacking up with for the past few years (Terry Schiavo).

O brave new world that has such creatures in it.