Devolution

It was legendary writer GK Chesterton who observed that the doctrine of original sin is “the only part of Christian theology which can be really proved.”

A casual glance at newspapers, news sites etc. will bear out the fact that human beings, despite technological advances and other such things, continue to demonstrate their ability to cause each other great harm.

In his book, The Battle for the Beginning, John MacArthur refers to the human condition as a devolution. I’ve heard it said that humanity is the way it is because we haven’t gotten there yet, we aren’t sufficiently evolved.

Some even say the animals are farther along because they don’t hurt each other to the degree we hurt ourselves (the fact that a higher creature has a greater capacity for good and evil is strangely ignored)

Johnny Mac says this in his book,

Deliverance from this state [the human condition, a fallen state] will not come from any process of evolution, either. In fact, the whole creation-including the human race-is now subject to a kind of devolution, which no amount of education, enlightenment, environmentalism, psychology, civilization, or technology will ever be able to reverse. What is needed is redemption.

What is curious to me is how the folks who most aggressively reject the Christian explanation for the human condition and thus God’s cure for it (redemption through His Son Jesus Christ), are the folks who have a different sort of faith though they ridicule so-called people of faith.

One could even say their faith is a blind faith, one that naively holds that social programs will somehow change human nature or a continuous reiteration of the so-called “golden rule” will somehow keep us from what comes naturally.

As CS Lewis commented,

What is the good of drawing up, on paper, rules for social behaviour, if we know that, in fact, our greed, cowardice, ill temper, and self-conceit are going to prevent us from keeping them?

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When a Church is in Peril of Death

From John MacArthur’s teaching on the Church in Sardis,

Any church is in danger of death when it begins to worship its own past, when it is more concerned with forms, when it is more concerned with liturgy than life, when it is more concerned about social ills than salvation, when it is more concerned about systems than it is Jesus Christ, when it is more concerned about material issues than spiritual things, when it is more committed to building up its own theology than accepting the Word of God.

Christian Environmentalism: 2 Perspectives

The first comes from Pastor Rob Bell who outlined his stance in an interview titled, “Rob Bell Tells it Like It Is”, from the January/February issue of Relevant Magazine,

Relevant Magazine: Why do you think so many Christians are now embracing this style of living? What is it about faith that lends itself toward being environmentally conscious?

Bell: Well, for our community, this isn’t rooted in the fact that it’s gaining steam in popular culture. It’s always been rooted in the very nature of God. The central Hebrew prayer, Deuteronomy 6, says, “Hear O Israel the Lord your God, the Lord is One,” so we live with awareness that all of reality is one. We are connected with all things everywhere, and I would argue that in the last couple hundred years, disconnection has been the dominant way people have understood reality.

And the Church has contributed to that disconnection by preaching horrible messages about being left behind and that this place is going to burn–absolutely toxic messages that are against the teachings of Scripture, which state that we are connected to God, we are connected to the earth, we are connected to each other. When any of those connections fracture, the whole thing starts to fall apart. Your relationship with God is tied into your relationship with the soil. Go back to Genesis. There are essentially four dimensions to shalom, which is God’s intention for all creation: peace and shalom with our Maker, with each other, with ourselves and with the earth. They’re intimately linked from the beginning. Over and over again [in Scripture], the relationship with God is lived out in relationship with each other and the soil. Nothing we’re saying is actually new at all; it just got lost along the way. The only reason somebody isn’t sensitive to the earth or the care of the earth is because their wealth or their indifference has essentially isolated them.

Here is the other perspective, from Pastor John MacArthur,

So I believe we are charged to treat responsibly all the wonderful resources God has given us. But that, in fact, has very little to do with the environmental movement. The environmental movement is consumed with trying to preserve the planet forever. But we know that isn’t in God’s plan.

The earth we inhabit is not a permanent planet. It is, frankly, a disposable planet—it is going to have a very short life. It’s been around six thousand years or so—that’s all—and it may last a few thousand more. And then the Lord is going to destroy it.

I’ve told environmentalists that if they think humanity is wrecking the planet, wait until they see what Jesus does to it. Peter says God is going to literally turn it in on itself in an atomic implosion so that the whole universe goes out of existence (2 Peter 3:7-13).

This earth was never ever intended to be a permanent planet—it is not eternal. We do not have to worry about it being around tens of thousands, or millions, of years from now because God is going to create a new heaven and a new earth. Understanding those things is important to holding in balance our freedom to use, and responsibility to maintain, the earth.

Just a footnote. Though this earth is our temporary home, do take time to enjoy God’s beauty. Take care of your yard. Stop to smell the flowers. Enjoy the forests. God placed those rich resources on this planet for our comfort and His enjoyment. Let us be thankful to Him for that.

(from “Evangelicalism and the Environmental Movement”)

If I read this correctly, according to Bell, Johnny Mac’s words are “absolutely toxic” because well MacArthur points out that yes this earth is going to be laid waste.

The concern perhaps should not be on whether a teaching is “absolutely toxic” but is it Biblically tenable? A cursory look at 2 Peter 3:10-12 actually shows that MacArthur is correct.

“Absolutely toxic” the man’s conclusions might be, but then one will have to extend the same courtesy to the Apostle Peter from whom he got the idea.