In spite of all that can be said, in spite of every secular argument to justify money and the state and science and technology, to show that we are right to use these things, it is quite unbiblical to appeal to these agents of political power. (147)
Now, I might be only including this because of its connection to conversations here about the role of property in the Bible. I do think that it reveals something about the argument Ellul is making. It reveals something about our own trust in these things. These things cannot and should not be justified by Scripture. God weeps when Israel rejects the judges for a king. The relationship with money and possessions described in Scripture is uneasy at best. Science and technology are in some ways simply extensions of money, possessions and the state, but more in that when we talk about the book Sharing Possessions.
[The Church] has never to say to the state: This must be done. It has rather to tell it on God’s behalf what will in effect be done, what the state on its own initiative will undoubtedly be led to do. (85)
This recalls Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous statement that the church is the “conscience of the state.” How often are we telling the state what to do? How often are we trying to coerce the state (or others) to do what we think is God’s will? Ellul and King both reveal that our job is actually to reveal the truth about what the state really is. This is the prophetic word that is spoken. It does not predict the future. Instead, it only reveals the truth of the nature of the kingdoms of this world. It says, “This is how Empires behave. This is their nature and you are no different.”