A Deadly Chain Reaction
by David Feddes
Once upon a time there was a land where people saw God’s hand in almost everything. They looked at animals and mountains, at stars and rainbows, at sunshine and cornfields, and saw the hand of God. They looked at great events of history and saw the hand of God. They looked at their own lives and saw the hand of God. Most people prayed in their homes. They worshiped in church every Sunday. They sent their children to schools that started each day with prayer and told about God and taught the difference between right and wrong.
But then things began to change. At first, people didn’t deny God openly. They just started to ignore him. Instead of looking at creation and marveling at God’s power and wisdom, they talked about “the laws of nature.” Instead of thanking God for the good things they enjoyed, they spoke of how they had earned it all through hard work. A deadly chain reaction followed.
After a while, the old beliefs about God began to seem rather quaint. Why suppose there was a Creator at all? Couldn’t everything have come into being just by chance? Soon some of the smarter people came up with a whole new theory to explain everything without even mentioning God. Then somebody decided that schools must teach this new theory to all the children and not allow anyone to pray openly. Teachers weren’t allowed to talk about God or to teach right and wrong based on faith in God. Meanwhile, as schools banned all mention of God, churches started producing up-to-date gods and goddesses that would make people more comfortable than they were with the old God who insisted on holiness.
As the old faith faded, there was a sexual revolution. The new commandment was “If it feels good, do it!” It began to seem unfair to insist that sex is for married people. It seemed cruel to deprive single people of such a fun activity. For that matter, why limit married people to the same person their whole life? Divorce became common, as more and more people decided they would be happier with a new mate.
After that sexual revolution came a second. The whole notion of male and female seemed outdated. Women became sexually involved with other women, men with other men. Some had hundreds of different partners. They even had parades and special events to celebrate all this. Such behavior had once been considered unnatural and wrong, but now anyone who spoke against such behavior was considered unnatural and wrong.
Some nasty diseases spread rapidly as a result of the new attitude toward sex, but few people wanted to change their behavior. They just wanted a cure for the diseases.
Somewhere along the line, people decided they didn’t want to recognize any moral absolutes at all. More and more things that were once thought wicked and unmentionable became mainstream. Their favorite motto was, “Nobody’s going to tell me what to do!” People became more and more money-hungry, and in their greed they didn’t care whom they ripped off or stomped on to get ahead. It seemed everybody wanted what somebody else had. Violent crime and murder grew more and more common. Lawsuits jammed the courts; conflict became a way of life at every level of society. Lying became so common that nobody’s word carried any weight; anything important had to be written in a contract, and even contracts didn’t count for much. The whole atmosphere became malicious; gossip and slander were everywhere, in politics and in private life.
It seemed as though people had no conscience anymore. If anyone dared to challenge the “I can do as I please” attitude in the name of God, people just hated God all the more. They hated authority of every kind. Young people became more and more defiant and rebellious toward their parents. Those who bragged the loudest and invented the most outlandish behavior were often admired for having real “attitude.” Whether in a street gang or a business corporation, nastiness was the way to get respect.
In this deadly chain reaction, one thing led to another. Things went from bad to worse until people considered God a joke and applauded ungodliness. There was still a vague memory of God and of his warning that sin leads to death and hell, but most people just laughed at old beliefs about “fire and brimstone.” They not only did bad things but flaunted their behavior openly and made celebrities out of those who “lived on the wild side.”
God’s Wrath Revealed
Does any of this sound familiar? It might sound like a fair summary of what’s been going on in our society over that last several decades. But I didn’t get this sequence of events from reading newspapers or watching TV. I got it from the Bible. Everything I’ve mentioned is found in Romans 1, in the very order I’ve just described. The scariest thing about all this is that when the Bible describes this deadly chain reaction, it says that these are progressive symptoms of a society that is under God’s wrath. Here’s what the Bible says in Romans 1:18-32.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Isn’t is chilling to hear such an exact description of where we find ourselves?
Just as the source of all our problems is alienation from God, so the solution to all our problems is restored fellowship with God.