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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Moral Evolution?

Do you suppose, O man – that you will escape the judgment of God?
(Romans 2:3 – ESV)

There have been recent studies that have “proven” that some children are “born to be bad”. Of course as Christians we know that all men are born bad. Biblically based Christians are not surprised at the depths of the depravity of man.

The rest of society, however, doesn’t get it. When some astronaut or high-ranking person of society goes bad they act surprised because they think we can educate that out of people.

My question to them is this: Do you believe that we will evolve out of our sinful nature, or predilections, as you might want to call them? Not just what I might call sin or evil, but what you would, something like murder, etc.? Or are there any items that aren't up for grabs?

I am genuinely curious. Do you believe we are getting better? Not just on the social, no-slavery, women's rights, etc., etc., kind of thing, but are we getting better with what is in our hearts? How about with greed, lust, anger, etc.? Maybe those aren't "sins" in your book, well then what is? And are we going to evolve out of those things? If not, what then of evolution, simply Nietzsche’s "will to power", you know, “might makes right”?

It is a great irony that after the bloodiest century in history there are people who deny the existence of evil and there are still people who believe that human beings are basically good, and just need education, not salvation. They believe and propagate the false idea that we don’t need a salvation to save us from our inner corruption; we need education to arouse our inner goodness. Even many churches today have this mindset.

However, God’s restraining grace is the only thing preserving anything of the honor and decency in our world. Man left to himself can never climb his way out of his own heart. He will sink into to the depths of his own depravity, unless God in His common grace restrains him, and until God in His saving grace rescues him. We will not morally evolve and we will not educate ourselves out of our depravity.

Is this greatly educated society of America becoming more moral? Now education is not the enemy in itself, no. We think education is good, yes, it is, but education cannot save us, just the same as God is not as interested in your savings account, as He is your soul. Education and upward mobility are not and cannot be the answer. Salvation is the answer. We need the right education (Romans 12:2 / Ephesians 4:23).

The wrath of God, leaving us to ourselves, is a present matter, it is ongoing – it is being revealed and will continue to be revealed in greater measure (Colossians 3:5-6 / Ephesians 5:6). God gives us up to our own lusts, in accordance with our depraved nature (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Now, looking back we see what they did and are doing, but now it is also you. This means you. Paul is restating and further clarifying his thoughts about men and their need, all men and their need, because they are all guilty, they are all without excuse, they are all damned and doomed without God. All have forgotten God, and none come to God unless He will come to them. Praise His name He has done so though Jesus Christ, and that is the point he is trying to make, that we are all under the just wrath of God, but that God will also reveal more than just wrath, but His righteousness, by saving some through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, and thereby revealing God’s own righteousness, over and opposed to man’s unrighteousness.

You may not do these bad things as much as the other guy or as much as you used to but you have done some of them or all of them once or occasionally, and a miss is as good as a mile (James 2:10). Going even further, really, it is not so much that you do the identical actions, but that your conduct is the same, i.e., you sin against light; against the knowledge of God you have turned this into idols.

You are not perfect, you are not righteous, and you are not a qualified judge. The standard is perfection, the righteousness of God. That is how the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel; it is against the backdrop of the depravity of man. Yes some men are worse than others in a sense but all are worse than God, and that is the point that Paul is making. Those whom judge others without looking at themselves first have done some of the same things; they are just as in need of a savior as those who never do anything but bad things. It isn’t a matter of degree, it is a matter of having done any of these things at all, and all have, and so all are without excuse.

This all shows us our need for the gospel, which is this; the righteousness He demands from us He freely gives to us. Romans 1:16-17 says that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. This is why Christianity is good news. It is God providing for us in Christ what we can never provide for ourselves, namely, a righteousness good enough to have God's favor. God will give it to us freely if we will stop depending on self and start trusting in Him.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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22 Comments:

At 6:21 PM, Blogger Kevin Stilley said...

When I saw the date on this post I panicked, thinking I had missed teaching my class today. However, it appears that you were posting ahead, and my class isn't until tomorrow. Very productive and efficient on your part, but you just about gave me a heart attack.

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Whoops! Sorry about that! Well, I posted that early so that I could go to my Wednesday service and not have to worry about getting it poastd when I got home...but I do sometimes post early anyway, especially if a previous post doesn't seem to be going anywhere in conversation...

 
At 11:22 PM, Blogger Craver Vii said...

Whaat. You don't think the burp was enlightened??

JD, that was depressing. Well, not all of it. But the human condition is desperately wicked, and I feel badly for those who will not agree with or can't see past the bad news to get to the great light at the end of the tunnel. "...the righteousness He demands from us He freely gives to us."

It is for that reason that I like the evangelism method employed by "Way of the Master's" Ray Comfort and Kurt Cameron. They use the 10 Commandments as a starting point to "prove" that we have transgressed God's law.

But aah, then there's that sweet good news!!!!

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Indeed, Craver, I like what they do too, Law and Grace, that is what Paul was doing in Romans, long form, so as to nail everyone first, and then by His grace, show how Christ was nailed for us...

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Craver Vii said...

Delete this comment if you like; it has nothing to do with this post. I just wanted to let you know that you are being paged back at my place.

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

On my way...

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger Craver Vii said...

(tearfully) That was beautiful.

 
At 5:48 AM, Blogger Maalie said...

> Do you believe that we will evolve out of our sinful nature, or predilections

With respect, it is not a matter of belief. Believing in something, however passionately, does not make it more likely to be true.

Evolution requires that the character in question (in the case propensity to sin, as I understand you) is heritable in the genetic sense. Next, there must be a selection pressure (positive or negative) upon that gene. In other words the possession of the gene would should result in either the procreation of more children (or fewer) to those who have it in order for it to alter its frequency in the population.

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger donsands said...

Good thoughts.

"they are all without excuse,"

We are for sure, for the universe declares a Creator God. We suppress the truth. We push it down when it comes up, because it reveals our depravity. (John 3:20-21)

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger jazzycat said...

JD,
This was very well presented as was your last post.

Maalie,
The acceptance of JD's view here by conservative Christians is the reason that we know that never ending government solutions to human problems are bound to failure. The constitution of the US was carefully written by Christians to limit the power of government and those in high offices. Why? Because they knew that man could not be trusted due to this depravity. America is in a rush to follow Western Europe in more government control and a socialistic system that will destroy the freedoms that we have grown to love. By understanding what JD has just described, Christians are aware of the lust for power that politicians have and that their schemes to redistribute wealth are but schemes to acquire power by enticing voters to vote for them. With these schemes comes less and less freedom, less and less wealth, more and more misery and more and more manipulation and propaganda to explain the never ending failures. Why? Because of the nature of man that JD has just described. Our trust is in the LORD and not princes.

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Maalie said...

>The constitution of the US was carefully written by Christians

Including the right to own guns I believe.

'Even so' posed a question; he said he is genuinely curious. He talks about evolution, my subject area. I gave as god and honest answer as I could. I really don't see what this has got to do with politics.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Even So... said...

Hey all, good stuff, even you, maalie :)

(notice the smile, it is only sideways becasue that is the limit of this keyboard, and has become an acceptable standard in the blogosphere for giving a sesne of the writers tone, in other words, my statement toward you isn't meant as sarcastic)

Yes, if one were inclined to evolution, my my, what many billions of years it might take to strain out the imperfections, but my friend, this will not happen, we find ourselves doing good as far as advancing social causes, and yes, this is good, but it still doesn't chnage men's selfish essence. They may be forced to act better through government and pain of death, or drugged into submission ala Aldous Huxley, but in any event, as per your own admission, it doesn't look too hopeful for the near, and far, future....

I figure that the political angle was meant by Jazzy as a side issue, corroborating as I just intimated, maalie, that we woun't be able to change "hearts", only suppress actions...

 
At 3:04 PM, Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

reading, listening, thinking...

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Your thoughts are welcome, of course...I want this to be a safe place for discussion and the development of such...we know of our positions for the most part, but an increased understanding of nuance is an insight we can all be appreciative of...

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Jazzy, I sure hope that doesn't sound "emergent"...different arena altogether, IMHO...

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Maalie said...

>Yes, if one were inclined to evolution, my my, what many billions of years it might take to strain out the imperfections

The problem I think we have here is that the traits you refer to (propensity to sin) are probably not governed by a hereditable gene, and so the selective processes that would alter the gene frequency in the population (try Googling "Hardy-Weinberg law") would not apply.

However non-hereditable culture does evolve as well of course, things like, language, customs, art, technology, but that is by a different process and is much faster than genetic evolution.

BTW, don't over-exaggerate the age of the earth; when you say "many billions", best estimates put it at about 4.5 billion, even that an incomprehensible time. Life got off the ground (or should I say out of the primordial "soup") about 1.5 billion years ago. But these would be single cell organisms, multicellular organisms took a while longer.

By the way, here is another interesting reference for you, from a NASA-sponsored website, I think.

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger jazzycat said...

JD,
No that doesn't sound emergent. If I ever hear you speak of relative truth, all religions are equally valid, my God is... (fill in blank), it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere, we need a new way to do church, we must begin by deconstructing, the secret message of Jesus, church reimagined, theology is like designing a house, ad nausem; then I will run for the hills.

 
At 8:53 PM, Blogger donsands said...

"Life got off the ground (or should I say out of the primordial "soup") "

What caused this to happen? Can it happen today, or was just for back then?

Just asking?

 
At 3:44 AM, Blogger Maalie said...

Dondands, I respectfully refer you to the references (links) that I have supplied in this post and to the one on the Noah's Ark post. The answer is too complex to deal with in the small text box of a blog comment.

It would take me a semester of lectures to explain it properly. Yes, it has been announced recently that your own American biologists are close to creating "synthetic life". Please look here.

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger donsands said...

"using blocks of genetic material.

The group hopes eventually to use engineered genomes to make organisms that can produce clean fuels and take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere."

I really don't get what this is. But it sure ain't a blob of mud being hit by lightning, and then life begins from mud and electricity.

And my bottom line is where did the mud and lightning come from?

Evolution is the religion that calls for the greatets faith, because it says something came from nothing. There's nothing, and then there's something.
Now that's great faith!

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger Even So... said...

Indeed...

 
At 1:03 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Kudos Don. Kudos.

 

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