People these days have different perspectives than God on a wide range of issues. Consider one of the most basic of all activities—human sexuality. God’s instructions were really quite simple. He created marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman, and He sanctioned sexual relations only within marriage (Genesis 2:24).
Like all His laws, He gave these for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13). His laws are beneficial—in fact, they are the only way that really works! For a more thorough explanation of our Creator’s teaching on sexuality, see the articles “What Is Marriage?” and “Questions About Sex Answered by the Bible.”
Questioning God’s standards
It didn’t take long before the standards God gave were challenged. People have always done as they pleased. Supposed justification for determining one’s own values regarding sexuality can be found in a number of seemingly innocent questions. What’s wrong with having sexual activity prior to marriage if two people love each other? Isn’t premarital sex harmless, especially if people take precautions against sexual diseases and use contraception if they don’t want a child? What’s wrong with enjoying life?
As for who can marry, many Western nations have approved same-sex marriage. After all, many reason, shouldn’t people be free to marry the person they love? In the end, shouldn’t love win?
People today assume that the answers to all these seemingly innocent questions are clear and there is nothing wrong with abandoning God’s laws. But is this true, or is it just shortsightedly overlooking the real consequences?
Those who believe premarital sex and same-sex marriage are acceptable offer a number of explanations to justify these changes from God’s original instructions.
Some mistakenly assume that the concept of God was created by man instead of recognizing that God created man. Those accepting this faulty perspective believe we’re free to determine our own standards of conduct apart from what they view as the superstitious, weak-minded and unnecessarily confined ways of living imposed by an imaginary God. In these people’s minds, changes from biblical standards are liberating and represent an advance for mankind.
Even many who believe that God exists find other ways to justify modern changes to what is considered right and wrong. Some of these people believe God originally gave simplistic laws for simplistic people who were incapable of higher reasoning. According to this misguided view, God intended us to develop and shed outdated values as we progressed.
Taking this thinking to its logical conclusion, some believe God is pleased with the changes in morality now championed by the majority of citizens in Western nations.
Does God change? Has He switched His position on what is good and what is harmful in human sexuality? Does He now approve of what He originally told us not to do?
If not, is He on the wrong side of history? How did the majority of citizens in Western nations come to hold alternative values to those taught by God?
Two ways of thinking
Most of us are familiar with the biblical account of Adam and Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). This incident, which is commonly referred to as original sin for mankind or the fall of man, was a seminal event in the relationship between God and mankind. While each person reaps the rewards or consequences for his or her actions (Ezekiel 18:20), Adam and Eve’s sin set a precedent that humanity has followed ever since. As the Bible states, “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
Focus for a moment on the thinking that led Eve astray. As part of his deceptive pitch, the serpent, who was Satan the deceiver (Revelation 12:9), appealed to her ability to reason and make decisions for herself apart from God (Genesis 3:4-5).
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (verse 6). As a result, Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden and lost access to the tree of life (verse 24).
As marvelous as the human mind is—after all, being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) includes being given a mind far superior to any animal—God intended for us to use this ability in harmony with His instructions. The Bible teaches that the human mind, often referred to as the heart in the Bible, “is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9) and that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
Sadly, instead of obeying God, Eve succumbed to the serpent’s deceptive message to trust her own shortsighted thinking and feelings instead of trusting God’s eternal perspective. Mankind in general has continually repeated Eve’s tragic mistake.
Describing those who followed this terribly mistaken way of thinking, Paul wrote: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. … who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:21-22, 25).
Worshipping the mind
The mental process of disconnecting from God and turning to total reliance on one’s own reasoning has been described as a heady, enlightening, liberating journey by individuals who have traveled this sadly mistaken path. The late Annie Besant (1847-1933), a prominent British author and women’s rights activist, documented her journey from the Church of England to her break with Christianity in a collection of essays titled My Path to Atheism.
Beginning with what she believed were discrepancies and contradictions within the Bible, she described in her preface how she then began critically studying the teachings of Christianity. As she became more dubious of Christianity and considered other religions, she came to believe that “inspiration belonged to all people alike, and there could be no necessity of atonement. … Thus, step by step, I renounced the dogmas of Christianity. …
“From Christianity into simple Theism I had found my way; step by step the Theism melted into Atheism; prayer was gradually discontinued, as utterly at variance with any dignified idea of God, and as in contradiction to all the results of scientific investigation. I had taken a keen interest in the later scientific discoveries, and Darwin had done much towards freeing me from my old bonds” (p. vii).
Though many mistaken theories and philosophies have been suggested to counter the truths of God, the one offered by Charles Darwin to explain the existence of man without a Creator has been one of the most ardently championed in spite of its flagrant flaws. To believe in Darwinian evolution, one must accept:
- That something (in fact, everything—the universe) spontaneously came from nothing.
- That random chemicals somehow combined to become the incredibly complex and beautifully designed thing we call life.
- That irreducibly complex organs and functions that have no survival value unless they are complete somehow evolved incrementally over millennia of time. (Random mutations—which are overwhelmingly dangerous to survival—and survival of the fittest can’t explain such amazing developments as the eye, for example.)
See the “Does God Exist?” continuing series in this issue of Discern and the many articles in the “Is There a God?” section of the Life, Hope & Truth website for additional explanation.
Besant’s self-described path from God mirrors the one taken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan told Eve that her eyes would be opened so that she, just like God, would be able to distinguish good and evil for herself (Genesis 3:5). Accepting this faulty premise, Eve used what would later be considered principles of scientific investigation to reach the deadly hypothesis that the forbidden fruit was good to eat (verse 6). But time would show that she was wrong—God was right. She died.
Once people begin trusting their own thinking apart from God, they soon begin looking for others who share their mistaken view. People like Charles Darwin, who theorized about the evolution of man without a divine Creator; Karl Marx, who championed atheism and the failed economics of communism; and Sigmund Freud, who postulated that sexuality is the driving force behind much of human activity, were hailed as great thinkers whose ideas must be accepted.
Though these well-known men are deceased, their misguided, antiscriptural theories continue to negatively shape our world today.
Who is on the right side of history?
As for who is on the right side of history, the judgment has already been given. The Bible explains that God doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8) and that everyone will stand “before the judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Amazingly, those who have been blinded and deceived by Satan—those who have never had a full and fair opportunity to understand God’s way of life—will be given this opportunity in the future. To learn more about God’s merciful plan of salvation for mankind, see the articles in the “Plan of Salvation” section of the Life, Hope & Truth website.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God says, “I am God … and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:12-13).
For the moment it may appear that God is on the wrong side of history. But when Christ returns and the Kingdom of God is established here on earth, the benefits of God’s way will make it obvious who is on the right side. Which side will we be on?