We’ve been living in this world a long time. We like to think we know how to get on with life. One of the things I find fascinating is that we are starting to revise the wisdom of the previous half century or so.
The 1960s onwards saw the sexual revolution, a moon landing, computers, test tube babies, high-speed global travel, satellite communication, the internet, smart phones and much more. There was the sense that humanity could do anything it put its mind to.
Previously, the western world had been shaped by an awareness of God’s instructions for life, but those were now abandoned as we abandoned belief in God. But now the results are increasingly coming in from that experiment and I find it fascinating that so many studies point out the failure of the new ways and advocate a return to older practices.
That’s not to say things are better just because they are old. This is not an ‘aul fella’ engaging in a load of ‘what-about-going-backery’ to some pre-1960s idyll! Old ways were only better if they were God’s ways.
Secular health specialists tell us that we need to rest one day in seven, and that if we don’t take our ‘sabbath’ on a regular basis, then our bodies will eventually take the cumulative total of missed ‘sabbaths’ for us in the form of burn-out. The Bible was there before us.
Psychologists tell us that the self-esteem project has been a huge failure, tending to produce narcissists and fragile people, and that humility is a far better character trait to cultivate in our children. Again God’s word was there before us.
Increasingly we are coming to realise that the way we are designed to function is actually for the best. From the incredible discoveries of what happens when we sleep, breathe and eat properly to the benefits of breastfeeding children—we are discovering that ‘nature’ knows best—or maybe the God who designed nature knows best!
Sociologists are discovering that long term monogamous marriage is good for society, having many unforeseen benefits which we are only discovering now that we have abandoned that template. Once again, that’s part of the manufacturer’s instructions.
And just recently, in Ireland we are finding the freeing of sexual activity from the security of marriage is leading to a massive rise in sexually transmitted infections, especially amongst teenagers—an over 100% increase is looking likely this year.
What physicist Arno Penzias said about the discovery that the universe had a beginning could be written over all these other recent discoveries: “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
We end up discovering that God was right after all, but only by what one writer calls, “the process of standing on a thousand rakes.” In calling people to God’s ways, the aim is to save individuals and society the pain of standing on all the rakes.
Yet it isn’t too late, for the God who gives the instructions also has a recovery plan for when those instructions aren’t followed—one that applies to individuals and to societies. Maybe it’s time for us, and for our policy makers to dust off our Bibles, and see what God actually has to say.
“This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”” Jeremiah 6:16
And since society is beginning to discover that God might just have been right after all, now is certainly not the time for Christians to be abandoning their confidence in the Bible, nor revising/updating God’s instructions for life.