“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18-32)
This is an account of the Greco-Roman world of Paul’s day. And it recounts how the godlessness of a society leads to further decline and judgement. The trajectory is clear and alarming.
First, the gentiles worshipped the creature rather than the Creator. They disregarded God and refused to honour Him. They probably had proofs that He didn’t exist, though they knew all along He was real. What follows is a debasement of human nature itself, a perversion of human relations. We see that in our own day in the support for gay, lesbian and bisexual lifestyles. But that is not all. ‘All manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife (I think of racial tensions), deceit (corporate scandals), maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil (pornographic and violent games and music), disobedient to parents (broken homes), foolish, faithless (marital breakdowns), heartless, ruthless.’
The breakdown in Western society is not a recent problem; it is but the result of an earlier rejection of God and His word. The moral and social problems of the day is the flowering of a worldview which has substituted the creature for the Creator. In place of God, we now have Man.
‘Caitlyn’ Jenner and the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, were born in Europe centuries ago. At the cultural movement known today as the ‘Enlightenment’, Society began to distance itself gradually from God and his word. Intellectuals began to develop an understanding of life which was independent of religion or revelation. Scientific knowledge itself began to be pursued as a value-free realm (even though Christianity had provided the stimulus for the development of Science). Then there was the French Revolution, when the citizens of France rose up in defiance of all authority, both human and divine. The Individual was King. It was a political and social display of the spirit of the age. Yes, there has been technological and scientific progress since then, and many blessings for which we should be thankful to God for his common grace. However, it set in motion a gradual but steady departure from the religious roots of Western civilization.
Nigeria, and the rest of Africa, faces the same risk. The same outlook on life was sold to us decades ago. It has nurtured our leaders and raised our children. Guided by this philosophy, we have ordered our affairs and built our society. The result over the decades has been corruption, instability, ethnic strife, mismanagement. As long as we maintain this secular focus on man, this worship of man rather than God, we will reap the same result. If we are to avoid the same decline, we must reverse our course. It will not do to lampoon the West; we are intellectual siblings.
We need to reorder our thinking about life and society. God must be placed at the centre. This is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. If it is ‘Peace and Progress’ we seek, this is the only way.
I would be glad to hear from you. Please post your comments below.