Growing Pains

FFF 14:9 (Nov 1968)

Growing Pains

James Gunn

If man is gradually improving, and as you contend, eventually will reach perfection, how is it that there is so much hatred, spite and belligerency among men today? Why are there murders, riots and wars? How can you, by the philosophy of moral evolution, explain the increase in the rate of crime, divorce and insanity?”

The panelist was sincere; she wanted to understand. She frankly had confronted herself with these moral and social problems, but had not discovered a satisfactory solution.

“Well,” replied the Professor at the Christian-Jewish congress, “these are but growing pains. In terms of evolution man is only an infant. Geologically speaking, he has been on earth a very short time. This earth probably is millions of years old; in contrast, man’s time here is short, but if he continues to evolve, and does not have an accident with the atomic bomb by which he could destroy himself, in a few more millenniums he will attain perfection. His progress is always onward and upward.”

What a vain hope! What intellectual nonsense! How contrary to the records of human history! How adverse to comtemporary observation! How contradictory to the Word of God! The Bible teaches the reality of evil; its message is one of human depravity, infinite holiness and, yet, of gracious redemption.

Since the earliest days of their national history, the Jewish people have been made aware of the basis of all evil. On the annual day of atonement (Lev. 16) their high priest confessed upon the head of the scape goat “all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgression in all their sins.” These same three words: transgressions, iniquities and sins, were still in use among them toward the end of the history of the united kingdom. David wrote, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” (Psa. 32:1-2). These descriptive words reveal the true character of sin.

The word sin in both Hebrew and Greek means missing the mark; consequently, a coming short of the moral standard set up by God. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22). Transgression actually means to go beyond, to violate a prohibition. This Eve did in Eden’s garden (1 Tim. 2:14). Iniquity is the complete disregard of all authority and order; it is lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3-9. 1 Tim 1:9-10).

Numerous words are also employed by the Spirit of God in the Holy Scripture to delineate the result of sin in any of these aspects: evil, wickedness, guilt, unrighteousness, errors, blasphemy, lawlessness, perversity, crime, rebellion, etc.

God is infinitely holy and hates sin and all its nefarious effects. Holiness is involved in sovereignty; sovereignty is sustained by law, and law is enforced by penalty. God therefore in holines will punish all sin. In grace He has planned that this penalty may be suffered vicariously; in fact, He has provided a capable substitute to endure the punishment of human guilt. The benefits of this provision are extended only to those who face the wrongs and errors of life as these are explained in the terms used in the Bible; iniquity, transgression and sin; not in the terms of a perverted philosophy, “growing pains.”

Modern thinking, in so many different spheres, fails to be realistic. Strange to say, many are more ready to accept the fantasies of modern thought, although it may mean their destruction, rather than accept the realism of Holy Scripture.

A conducted tour through a hospital for the mentally ill left a very deep impression upon the visitor. When back in the office, he had a number of serious questions to ask.

“Doctor,” he enquired, “how is it that this and many similar institutions are filled to their utmost capacity?”

The Psychiatrist, a man of extensive experience, replied, “Simply because people refuse to face reality.”

The doctor then extended his explanation by adding that there are thousands who prefer to live in a fantasy, a sort of dream-land, rather than face the realities of life. An imaginary existence in ease, affluence and success gives them a temporary and false feeling of comfort. When finally faced by realities, they crack.

The Apostle Paul seems to describe certain modern philosophers in his letter to Timothy, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). They refuse to accept the guilt of human wickedness, and allow a fertile imagination to wrongly convince them in these matters; they accept eternal verities as deceptions, and deceptions as positive realities.