The battle is on for the survival of South Sudan in East Africa. Much of the world is already writing her obituary. “African nations are ungovernable by anyone.” “African men are too childish or lazy to be civilized.” “African men are completely incapable of building nations.”

A South Sudanese girl holding a South Sudanese flag

Wrong. Observers have been writing excuses for African failure for a century, and getting it wrong because they do not understand these two creations of God: men and nations. What is true about men and nations? What does it take to build a nation? What does it mean to have a civilization? It’s true the African founders of South Sudan are building from almost nothing. But they have personal determination to construct a "Christian" nation. They have Bibles. It is true their chances of success are small because the battle for civilization is so intense. There are daily threats from all sides. The evil Omar al-Bashir is provoking another war through military assaults. There is hourly pressure from representatives of the Chinese military to let them run the nation’s affairs and economy. Bureaucrats from the United Nations insist that peace can only come through layers of UN programs. All three of these approaches involve different systems for building nations and destroying nations.

But African men possess all the same tools of dominion as any man made in God’s image. If they use these tools masterfully, they will build a mighty and lasting nation in South Sudan, and a free and mighty continent.