Is Man Wise Now?

Psalms 14:1   The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Within the past few days, I have had serious discussions with a “churchman” who describes himself as a “post-theist.” I had to ask for help with that term, because it did not want to leap to any unfounded conclusions about it. Apparently, a post-theist believes that, while God may have been a useful idea at an earlier time in human history, God is now just an out of date idea, a concept that should be discarded altogether by our more “mature” society today. Post-theism rejects the very idea of God as simply irrelevant to modern man. Along with this, from this same “churchman” I learned that he believes that there is no such thing as sin. Further, he tells me that the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross was pointless and completely unnecessary; he says that the Resurrection is the proof of this fact. Oh, and that Jesus death on the Cross had nothing to do with sin. One really amazing statement was this one:

In my view, “sin” is a purely human concept. It has nothing to do with God. Nor does God give as damn (sic) about what we do in bed!

It has been a real education for me!!

Let us consider again the opening quote I gave from Psalm 14, which by the way is repeated almost identically again in Psalm 53:1. Ancient man knew with great certainty that there was a God in heaven; he saw the evidence of this all around him every day. He was aware of creation as an ordered event, demanding a Creator, not the result of an accident. He was aware of his own fallen state, his sin, because the Law of God was written on his heart and later he was given the Ten Commandments. It was clear to ancient man that he was a created being, that he was not the final arbiter of right and wrong, but that he would be eventually held accountable for his deeds in this life. It was even evident to ancient man that this world was not the end, there is in fact life after death, and that how we live this life will determine how we will spend our time in eternity.

Now it is certainly true that not all ancient men had these insights. There have always been men who denied that there was anyone or anything at all greater than themselves. The Lord God who created the heavens and the earth chose to reveal Himself to a particular people whom He called His Chosen People, the Hebrews. Through their history, He has interacted with mankind, and revealed Himself continually through the ages. He sent a steady stream of messengers, the great leaders such as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and all of the prophets to bring his message to the Hebrews. God’s ultimate messenger was His Own Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, sent to bring the message of salvation for all people through His own atoning sacrifice on the Cross followed by the defeat of sin and death in His Resurrection.

Since the time of Jesus Christ, in the Christian West, there has been a huge expansion of knowledge, more than in all preceding time combined. It has been an accelerating expansion, that is, the more knowledge has been gained, the more rapidly it has continued to expand.  This has been true in every are of knowledge that one might wish to consider. In particular, the knowledge of science and the way the world and the universe works has grown profoundly. Questions which ancient man might have never even considered are today considered as standard exam questions in many areas such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. And yet, we have to ask, “Has man become wise?”

It was in the 17th century that the great Isaac Newton discovered his Laws of Motion and Newton’s Law of Gravitation. He, along with Leibnitz, invented the calculus, a huge leap in mathematics, simply because it was necessary for their work. Newton’s work was built in large part on the work of others including Kepler, Brahe, and Galileo. His results seemed to explain the observed motion of the planets, and many other mechanical phenomena entirely, and were accepted as established Laws of Physics for many, many years. This situation remained until the early 20th century when Einstein showed that Newton’s Laws of Motion are in fact not entirely correct; this came under Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. And yet, Newton’s Laws of motion are sufficiently accurate for most purposes, unless the motion approaches the speed of light. All of the trajectories, orbits, transfers, etc. involved in the US space program have been calculated on the basis of Newtonian mechanics; the theory of relativity is not used at all there. So what have we learned? The older methods of Newtonian mechanics remain useful in almost all cases, while the “correct” relativistic mechanics of Einstein has little application.

In the 19th century, Charles Darwin published his theory of natural selection, the basis of the very popular theory of evolution today. Many are concerned that it appears to contradict the Bible account of creation given in Genesis. More about that in a moment. Consider the theory of evolution itself. It has never, ever, been demonstrated at all, by anyone, to the best of my knowledge. To be sure, viruses do mutate into other, closely related viruses and we discover that our drug therapies are no longer effective. This is not the gross evolution indicated by the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution tells us that birds came from reptiles. Has anyone been able to make that happen, to start with a reptile and through some sort of breeding process produce a bird? I don’t think so. No one has been able to produce a different species from that which they start with. Dogs always produce dogs; cats always produce cats; horses always produce horses, and so forth. The theory of evolution is entirely, utterly without a single demonstrable case. And yet, this is what people demand, shouting and screaming, must be taught as “science?”

Now, does the (impossible to demonstrate) theory of evolution really contradict the Genesis account of the creation of the earth? NO. The Bible is not intended to be a science book, and therefore is not intended to address the question of “how.” The Bible is a book of the history of God and man, and with regard to the creation, it addresses the question of “who.” Specifically, the Bible tells “Who created the heavens and the earth?,” not “How were they created?”  The Bible also makes clear that the process of creation was an orderly process, done in a definite sequence under the control of the Creator, rather than the chaos of a random event. Everything that is of God is orderly (even if we have difficulty at times seeing the order), and that right there excludes anything that is random.

The more man learns, the more he should be able to see and appreciate his Creator. Sadly, mankind in the large is not like that, and many tend to see themselves as becoming “gods.” (Recall that it was the pursuit of knowledge, through the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that caused the downfall of man, according to Genesis.) So it is today that many people, particularly those with only limited and superficial knowledge of science, are inclined to think that science has overthrown God and provides all the answers today. Those who know most about science are often the most religious and the most convinced of the operation of God, probably because they get a better view of Him through their work.

But we are in a precarious situation. The more people come to believe that there is no God, the more irrational, brutal, and tyrannical they become. They think, in their own minds, that they will never have to answer to any One for their evil. This is where we are today. Man has become knowledgeable, but man is most certainly NOT WISE! Knowledge without wisdom is exceedingly dangerous!!

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About Father D

I am a priest of the Continuing Anglican Church, the continuation of orthodox Anglicanism into the present 21st century. My theology is definitely that of a Reformed Catholic point of view, neither Roman nor Calvinist.
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4 Responses to Is Man Wise Now?

  1. In your science class, you will learn about Newton’s laws of motion. Do you know why these laws are so important? When you throw a baseball or you bounce a basketball on the court, you can use Newton’s laws to explain the motion of the baseball or basketball. In fact, almost all motion in the world can be explained by these laws. Newton’s laws are useful when people design airplanes, trains, cars, sports equipment, toys, and many things that have to do with motion. Some people have trouble understanding Newton’s laws of motion because it’s hard to see how the laws work without any examples. One great way to understand these laws is to look at how they relate to cars in everyday life.

    • Father D says:

      Freida, I don’t think I understand the point of your comment. I am very familiar with Newton’s Laws of Motion; I was for a number of years Professor of Mechanical Engineering. My specialty was dynamics, based entirely on the application of Newton’s Laws. I have worked countless dynamics problems in the past, so I know well how this all works.

      But how does that relate to the post? Do you think that knowing Newton’s Laws makes a person wise? I can tell you with certainty that this is not wisdom. It is knowledge, but that is not the same as wisdom.

  2. These three laws form the foundation of what is known as classical mechanics, or­ the science concerned with the motion of bodies being acted upon by forces. The bodies in motion could be large objects, such as orbiting moons or planets, or they could be ordinary objects on Earth’s surface, such as moving vehicles or s­peeding bullets. Even bodies at rest are fair game.

    • Father D says:

      As I pointed out to the previous commenter, the knowledge of Newton’ Laws of motion is NOT wisdom; it is simply knowledge. I have studied Newton’s Laws extensively for years; I am truly an expert in their application to all sorts of situations. BUT, I say again, that is NOT wisdom.

      So, what is your point?

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